BUENOS AIRES – A 73-year-old Argentine man who fathered two children with a young daughter he kept as his sexual prisoner will serve 16 years in prison himself.
Prosecuting Attorney Sergio Antin said the case of Eleuterio Soria had similarities to that of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man arrested last month for locking his daughter in a basement for 24 years.
"If we're talking about sexual subjugation, and we take into account that the victim did not leave the house, yes, there are similarities" to the Fritzl case, government prosecutor Sergio Antin said after Soria was sentenced on Tuesday.
Soria's trial revealed that he began abusing his daughter in 1992, when she was 12 years old. The following year she became pregnant by her father, prompting her mother to leave their home in La Matanza, a working-class Buenos Aires district. The family's five other siblings eventually left as well.
The daughter, whose name was not released, had a second child by her father in 1997. Unlike Fritzl, Soria used psychological domination rather than physical restraints to keep her in the house. She did flee on various occasions, but would return home after he threatened their two children — often at gunpoint.
She finally escaped for good in 2003 and denounced her father to authorities. Argentine psychologists weren't surprised that it took her more than a decade to tell authorities.
"If the world inside was so perverted, how could she think that the world beyond would help her?" Cristina Castillo, a family psychologist in Buenos Aires, asked Wednesday.
Shame also keeps incest victims from coming forward, said Maria Elen Leuzzi, founder of Help for Rape Victims, who believes the problem is much bigger than society is willing to admit.
"Here we have many Josef Fritzls," she said.