December 30, 2013 10:45 am

Argentine priest serving time for sex abuse loses bid for freedom pending appeal

In this June 10, 2009 file photo, Argentine Catholic priest Julio Cesar Grassi talks to reporters as he leaves a courthouse after being found guilty of sexual abuse in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – An Argentine priest serving 15 years in prison for sexually abusing a boy has lost another appeal.

Father Julio Cesar Grassi lived freely across the street from the orphanage where the crimes took place even as courts repeatedly found him guilty. He began serving the sentence behind bars in September after the provincial Supreme Court in Buenos Aires upheld the verdict.

The ruling published Monday on the justice system’s website said the appeals court turned down his lawyer’s request to free him pending a final appeal to the national Supreme Court, saying his arguments were unfounded.

Grassi was a celebrity priest who channeled big money donations to his Happy Children Foundation until he was accused of sex abuse in 1996. He was first convicted in 2009, and still maintains he is innocent.

© 2013 The Canadian Press

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