POISON - Episode 7 - The sea moves away
Dario, the "zero child", gives us a disconcerting revelation. And in a video we finally discover what is hidden behind his first stories, which triggered the "Poison Case"
Live Pablo studio:
Thanks Enzino ... ok ...
Are you Gipo? Are we recording? Ok ...
We asked ourselves many times how right it was to tell the story that we called 'Poison'.
It is a question that we continue to ask ourselves today.
A few nights ago, while we were working on this last episode, we received the email of a woman very close to one of the 16 children who were removed from their families between 1997 and 1998.
Today that boy is thirty years old.
"The only thing I know for sure," he wrote to us, "is how much pain this investigation is bringing back to the minds of the real victims of this matter: the children protagonists of the story."
The woman wondered what our purpose was, and between the lines she asked us if we didn't feel guilty for having reopened a wound that for years they have all been trying to mend.
We want to respond directly to those children.
Dear Marta, Elisa, Nick, Stella, Margherita, Cristina, Roberto, Veronica, Pietro, Federico, Aurora, Alessandro, Sonia, Melania, Marco, and dear Dario ...
But if we have done all this it is because we believe that being able to choose to know the B side of this story is your right, and that of the families you have been estranged from.
We are committed to respecting your privacy and the new life you have built.
But we could not ignore the anomalies and contradictions hidden behind the decisions that marked this case, and upset your childhood.
Today you are adults.
You are free to decide whether to reopen this box and look at things with different eyes.
Or leave it in the attic and move on.
Poison is for you.
January 16, 2016 for Dario was probably a Saturday like any other. Wake up late and a day of messing around.
He had left the house with his face still sleepy to take the dog out.
He had put on a sweatshirt and an anorak.
It was cold. It was drizzling.
We followed him for a few hundred meters along a dirt road.
We were excited. We had been looking for him for months. And we had a million questions to ask him.
Dario had stopped a few steps from a stream and had untied the dog.
Live Alessia: Hi! Nice to meet you, Alessia ...
Live Dario: Hi ...
Live Alessia: Sorry, we're a little busy ... How are you, all right? We will seem crazy that we meet people by chance like this ... and ...
Live Dario: No, don't worry ...
He seemed calm, even if he was a little displaced.
After all, we were two strangers who knew his name and knew his address.
Live Pablo: We are truly the most innocuous people in the world ...
Live Dario: No, okay, I'm not afraid ...
Live Alessia: And we would miss it!
Live Pablo: No, okay, but understood, two are coming ...
Live Dario: But ... how do you know who I am ...
Live Pablo: So ... now I'll explain ...
We told him about the investigation we were carrying out.
We knew all about his childhood, his estrangement, the legal proceedings, and his statements to psychologists and judges.
But we had never heard his version of the facts directly.
Live Alessia: And so we decided "Oh, do you know what's there?" ... let's meet him, let's get to know this guy we only read about on paper….
Obviously we couldn't show up and point the microphone at his face, so we hid it in his pocket. The audio that follows is therefore disturbed in many places, and for obvious reasons we wanted to change its voice.
Honestly, we were convinced that Dario sent us away, a bit like almost all the other guys involved.
But he surprised us.
Dario wanted to speak. And without us asking him anything, he immediately confessed to us a doubt that haunts him for years.
Live Dario: Boh, I honestly am no longer sure of what happened or did not happen ... so ... oh well they turned me away that I was small, you understand, so ... then many psychologists also try to make you say what they want them, understand, for the money, so I'm not even safer than all ...
Live Pablo: Really?
Live Dario: Some memories are there, but I don't know if they are real or not ... that is, from a child you take out what you want ...
The zero child who had spoken of abuses, satanic rituals and murders, and from whose stories an escalation of arrests, convictions, removals and deaths had started, now, twenty years later, suspects he has been manipulated, and puts in I doubt his own memories and his own words.
Live Dario: I remember the abuse ...
Live Pablo: Of other things?
Live Dario: Yes
Live Pablo: What was the memory that always haunted you?
Live Dario: Boh abandonment ... it's one ... when they took me to a place anyway and they didn't even stop to tell me what was going on ... ... when they took me to the Last Supper.
Live Pablo: At the Last Supper, yes ...
Live Alessia: That you were little, you were ...
A child turned away and abandoned without explanation. It is the indelible memory that Dario still carries inside since he was 3 years old. All the rest is fog.
Live Alessia: Do you remember being in a cemetery?
Live Dario: I remember it, but that is the walls, the stone-like walls ... but ... that is, you don't even know if it was a cemetery or it was an old abandoned house, you understand ...
That is, I vaguely remember the things that ... all sti red lights that is ... a stained glass window ... but I was 3 years old ...
Dario is convinced that sexual abuses in his natural family have occurred, while cemeteries and satanic rituals retain only flashes, confused and blurred.
Live Pablo: For example, do you think you really killed them children at the cemetery?
Live Dario: I remember it, because up to 5 years ago I was hammered ...
Dario says: "I remember it, because up to 5 years ago it hammered me ..."
Live Pablo: The one about killing a child at the cemetery?
Live Dario: Yes
Dario answers yes.
But now nothing of what he remembers of those terrifying years can be considered entirely credible.
Was it really abused by your family members?
Or is it just the remnant of a nightmare, like the one in which he killed a child?
A thousand questions that will never be answered.
Dario told us about his world: at 27 he does not have a steady job, and has spent most of his life fighting with the ghosts that haunt him since he was 5.
Live Pablo: But you know that no dead has ever been found, they told you this is it right?
Live Dario: No ...
Live Pablo: How not?
Live Dario: That is, I know more or less that they took people, put them in prison ... but that they never found anything, nobody ever told me ...
Nobody ever told you.
Until the day we met him, Dario believed in a story that never happened, as one of those Japanese soldiers left alone on a Pacific island, hiding from a war that actually ended decades earlier.
He also went into hiding.
For years he has looked over his shoulder with the fear of being stalked by family members and people who wanted to kill him for revenge.
We were the first to give him the news that he was all alone in his head.
Not even Valeria Donati spoke to him, who followed him until a few years ago.
Dario doesn't have a good memory of her. After a long therapy throughout his adolescence, something would have gone wrong. The psychologist would have used it for other purposes, to make a career.
The relationship between Donati and her foster family then abruptly ended, and behind this break, according to Dario, there would be a question of money linked to custody.
But on this he did not want to add anything else.
Live Giacco: Do you believe that how many children who take from morning to night, who trade on children ... pay 300 euros a day ... it's all about money ...
Live Lorraine: Well ... When it comes to power, money and prestige it's all said ...
The lawyers and families involved have always claimed that a real gold mine was hiding behind the children's removals.
The turn of money linked to the custody system is a very recurring theme in cases of child abduction, and one of the great shadows on the trial of the devils of the Lower Modena area.
One of the many protagonists of this affair, namely the Bologna Juvenile Court - which issued the expulsion decrees for all 16 children of Massa Finalese and Mirandola - has been repeatedly criticized over the years for the methods used and for the strong conflict of interest behind this practice.
This is the reason why Francesco Morcavallo, a young judge who worked in that court, decided to abandon the toga in 2013, after 4 years of service.
His was not an easy choice.
Live Morcavallo: The main reasons concern the, say, ease with which children or young people were too often removed from their families ...
According to Morcavallo these removals would be a fundamental problem ...
Live Morcavallo: Prejudice towards families experiencing difficulties or economic or social relationships or cultural diversity.
Sometimes it seems that very little is needed to take away a child ...
Live Morcavallo: A drawing, a sentence, a related sentence, or even just a bruise interpreted as a sign of mistreatment ...
And at that point the family finds itself stuck between the gears of an infernal bureaucratic and juridical device.
Why, even when years later he should prove his innocence ...
Live Morcavallo: ... that child is kept away from his family no longer because it is assumed that he has been subjected to violence or abuse, but because he no longer knows them, let's say so. Or they say "he is no longer used to being with them", or even sometimes - very unusual motivation - "he finds himself well in the family to which he has been entrusted" ...
... or, brutally, because that child has an economic value.
And here we enter the gray area of the system.
A college of 4 decides the fate of a child in the classrooms of a juvenile court: 2 magistrates and 2 honorary judges, that is private sector professionals with specific skills, such as psychologists, doctors or educators of family homes.
Live Morcavallo: Some of these honorary judges appear to be judges in the Juvenile Courts at the same time and at the same time they are either managers of family homes or community structures for minors, or work in these structures, in a pathological and macroscopic conflict of interest.
Sometimes the funds that Municipalities and Regions allocate to private structures and houses
family reach astronomical figures.
Live Morcavallo:… 400 euros per day.
Live Pablo: 400 euros per day for each child?
Live Morcavallo:… for every child.
Obviously, and we repeat it again, that of abuse and mistreatment is an important problem, and the work done by centers, educators and social workers is fundamental and absolutely necessary in a civil society.
Just as, however, some reforms seem necessary to safeguard the children themselves and their families from potential speculation.
We talk about it with one of the leading experts in legal psychology in Italy, Giovanni Battista Camerini:
Live Camerini: Psychiatrist, expert in forensic psychiatry of the developmental age
Camerini maintains that at the origin of the so-called 'business of custody' there is a law approved precisely in the period in which the case of the Bassa Modenese was born, the 285 of 1997.
Live Camerini:… which sent important funding to the centers that dealt with abuse. Centers have flourished, often managed by non-competent people, so in certain situations there was a legitimate doubt that there were more people who dealt with abused children, than abused children. And these centers have become, in many cases, obviously not in all cases for goodness sake, of the species of 'illegal workers', in the sense that reports were encouraged on the basis of absolutely inconsistent indications.
Clues that sometimes have almost grotesque.
Live Camerini: I remember a case, unfortunately I must say very recently, in which a self-styled expert credited a report of abuse, saying that the child talking about a mint ice cream, had clearly wanted to symbolize the male genital organ, because it is I notice that children don't like mint ice cream. Obviously I can't name names, a well-known expert.
Now, there is a very interesting detail that concerns the experts who interviewed the children of the Bassa Modenese.
Doctors Roccia and Farci, consultants of the court that we heard the children questioning in the previous episode, worked in Turin, while Valeria Donati and her colleagues from the Social Services practiced in Mirandola and in Emilia Romagna.
But although operating in different regions, they had given the same interpretation to the children's stories.
At the time of the events, all of them were part of, or had followed the training courses, of the Italian Coordination of Child Maltreatment Services, better known as CISMAI.
It is an association extended throughout the national territory, which has as its objective the prevention and treatment of violence against minors.
The CISMAI guidelines indicate a precise method to be used when listening to a minor.
Gloria Soavi, president of the association, explains it to us:
Live Soavi: The approach is to the child as an alleged victim, with a psychological state and a situation of trauma, in the awareness that there can be no absolute neutrality in a relationship with a child.
And precisely on this the CISMAI has been, and is still severely criticized by a part of the scientific community.
Here is what Professor Giuliana Mazzoni and psychologist think about it
Live Mazzoni: Cismai certainly has a preconceived position in some way, that is 'children never lie' and 'there are indicators', for example, 'of sexual abuse', and this is absolutely denied by scientific literature.
When Cismai began to bring his science and methods throughout Italy practically, because they were called as experts even if they were very young, that is, the non-preparation, the non-objectivity, the search for the abuser rather than the safeguard of the victim, of the possible victim, there have been clashes on this point of view ...
In discussions with children, this controversial method had actually been used.
Live video children:
Psychologist: Yes, but you said "they do bad things to him", but bad things can be ... do not feed him, give him two slaps ... eh ... what do I know ... do not change his diaper ... or ... take him to the cemetery ... there are many bad things ...
Child: Take it to the cemetery!
We read the transcript of this dialogue to President Gloria Soavi who, we specify, did not hold this position at the time, and never worked on this case.
Even if he knows the psychologists involved very well. We asked her if in her opinion it was correct to ask the child a question like that, defined by the other experts that we asked 'highly suggestive'.
Live Soavi: You read this sentence as inducing ...
Live Pablo: Embè, I don't know ... tell me ...
Live Soavi: (laughs) ... I don't understand where he wants to go with this. Are you saying they were induced? There could have been no other problems for which these children said this kind of thing ...
Live Pablo: And what problems can they be?
Live Soavi: Do you understand what I mean?
Live Pablo: No.
Live Soavi: Personal problems, of reading reality ...
Perhaps there was also an experience that is now much more sophisticated than the time. There is a lot more training now, if I can tell you. With this it is not that CISMAI, neither then, nor now, is absolutely to find abuses where there are none.
Live Pablo: But, I mean, as a psychologist, wouldn't you ask her questions in front of such a story? That is, why do children have to talk about human cemeteries and sacrifices that never happened?
Live Soavi: Yes, I can ask you the questions ... What can I say, who made mistakes?
Live Pablo: Don't they seem like serious mistakes?
Live Soavi: These are serious mistakes, yes, if you want me to say this ... but at this point ... can I say one thing, did you record everything?
Live Pablo: Yes
Live Soavi: Here, I ask you not to use it, because you put me in a lot of trouble with people I know personally. It is not our intention to put Dr. Soavi and her colleagues at Cismai in a bad light, who deal daily with important and delicate problems. But we take the liberty of suggesting that this issue deserves more detailed reflection from the association.
It is evening, and in the kitchen of an apartment on the outskirts of Finale Emilia, there is a woman sitting alone at the table.
Her name is Daniela.
The clock of her life remained stopped twenty years ago, when her daughter Sonia was taken away from her as a child.
Daniela and Sonia lived alone after she and her husband Massimo separated.
The names of father and daughter, however, ended up in the stories of abuse and cemeteries of one of the girls questioned by the psychologists, and the sad night of November 12, 1998 - the one in which both the children of Lorraine and Alexander were taken away - the carabinieri they were also introduced to Massimo's house to arrest him, and to Daniela's house to take Sonia.
For the mother, who is never even investigated, the nightmare of meetings with the Social Services of Mirandola begins.
Live Daniela: This doctor always asked me about my husband, what could have happened, that I couldn't be so sure ...
Live Pablo: Why did you deny?
Live Daniela: Yes, I denied it, because I'm too convinced ... I mean ... I can't say something that's not true ...
Little Sonia is brought by Dr. Maggioni who finds very serious signs of abuse.
In her opinion, it is the little girl who suffered the worst torture.
But Sonia doesn't speak, she doesn't accuse her parents and she doesn't say anything about cemeteries and murders.
It is the only one that will never do it.
Daniela is desperate.
And when someone suggests that the only solution to review the daughter is to confirm the accusations made by the Prosecutor's ex-husband ...
Live Daniela: I admitted, it may have happened that my husband abused my daughter ... This magic word has moved everything. So, 3 years after leaving, mother and daughter meet again.
Live Daniela: I saw her again at the Franciscan Cenacle in Reggio Emilia. I entered this huge room ... in front of me I had Donati ... I hear a door open ... I see my daughter ... one thing ... science fiction cannot exist like this ... I would have run away ...
Live Pablo: Why?
Live Daniela: Why not ... I looked ... I thought that, his gaze ... I dodged, his gaze ... He looked at all the others except his mother, when he spoke he had to speak on command. Out of twenty questions I asked you, you will have five answers. She was no longer my daughter, she was no longer that solar child ... Because they brainwashed her.
After seeing her a few times at the Franciscan Cenacle, Daniela asks that the protected meetings with Sonia take place in her home.
But the request will never be accepted.
Live Daniela: Ten days before Christmas, I was told that the child would be given in foster care.
Live Pablo: To whom?
Live Daniela: Who I don't know, you didn't know ...
The mother hires a private investigator, who manages to find Sonia.
Live Pablo: And where was he?
Live Daniela: At the home of the social workers' lawyer ...
Live Pablo: Are you kidding ...
Live Daniela: No, no ...
Live Daniela: I missed her best years ... of adolescence. My niece is nine years old, and sometimes I change her name ... A life of shit, believe me ... one day is good, one day no, you don't sleep at night, you take psychotropic drugs to be able to sleep ... because the thought is always there. ..
Daniela's is one of the most disturbing stories.
It never ended on trial.
She has never been accused, neither by her daughter, nor by other children. Moreover, after a few years, her ex-husband was acquitted. Despite this, however, her daughter ended up at the Franciscan Upper Room, and instead of returning to her home she was given in foster care.
A little girl torn from her mother for no valid reason.
And entrusted to whom then? To a lawyer linked to the Last Supper.
Is it all a coincidence?
Is it a coincidence that after the removal most of the children ended up in that institution?
Is it a coincidence that right there Valeria Donati was also the head of the Center for Child Aid?
And is it always a coincidence that in the same period the Child Help Center had obtained three-year funding from the ASL of Modena for over 800.000 euros, for the assistance and care of children victims of sexual abuse?
Many of those who have dealt with this story over the years have asked themselves.
And on Valeria Donati, the young intern psychologist, fresh, suspicions and criticisms were concentrated. She was accused of being unprepared, of having started a witch hunt, and of speculating on the children's skin.
We wrote to her, asking for a meeting to find out her version of the facts.
“I have deep respect for the pain and privacy of these families, especially these boys and girls, who are now men and women who have painstakingly rebuilt their lives and who have faced enormous difficulties and suffering.
For this reason, even if I wanted to express my opinion on some point more generally or clarify news now revisited or distorted by time, I never even considered the idea of being able to do it in public or through journalistic means, not even when I was wrongfully attacked. "
Live phone call: (ringing)
Live Donati: Hello?
Live Pablo: Valeria Donati?
Live Donati: Yes ...
Live Pablo: Hello, I'm Pablo Trincia ... I'm sorry if I disturb you ...
Live Donati: Hi, good morning ... Tell me ...
Live Pablo: Listen, I call you because as you know your role has been central to this story, so ... everyone talks about you, and we would like to give you the opportunity to reply, to explain what happened, we are doing a job ...
Live Donati: Look, I can't tell you anything else, in the sense that it's not a problem of desire, that is, that I don't want to be interviewed or that I don't want to say my opinion, he understood, it's really a problem ... I can't ...
Live Pablo: How come, doctor, all those children who passed by you ended up making those stories, can you explain it to us?
Live Donati: So if we put the conversation on this tone, I will say goodbye ... I'm sorry, I don't want to be rude, but I have to say goodbye, goodbye ... Good evening.
Live Pablo: Why doctor? Why? (puts it down).
The case of the Bassa Modenese did not affect the career of Valeria Donati, nor that of her other colleagues, who continue to be psychologists, sometimes as consultants in cases of suspected abuse.
Most likely in 1997 it was these professionals, and then the police and judges, who put what was actually their fear in the heads of the children, that is, the existence of seven of Satanist pedophiles.
When the little ones absorbed this fear, their delusional fantasies became a truth for everyone.
And in the end it was too risky to admit that you were wrong.
Live Lorraine: Why didn't all these psychologists leave a trace, these professors? Why didn't they leave a trace of what they did? What did they have to hide? Hide but not to me! Hide from my children, hide from the authorities, hide from yourself too ...
This is Lorena Covezzi.
Live Lorraine: I don't consider my children to be liars ... if they told these things, why did they tell them?
Live Pablo: But do you think they are convinced that you really brought them to the cemeteries?
Live Lorena: No, they are convinced that I have abandoned them, in all these years ... In my opinion they don't want to talk to me because they don't want to go back to a great suffering, which they didn't understand, which they suffered at the time of
detachment, at the moment of being separated from each other ...
From one day to the next, the world of these 16 children was destroyed: they no longer had their parents, their home, and the games they shared with their siblings, from which they were separated forever.
It happened to Lorena's 4 children, who ended up in 4 different families, and it happened to Giuliano's two children.
It happened to Margherita, who was never able to see the 5 brothers again.
It also happened to the two children of a woman that we never mentioned, then she was acquitted.
And it happened to the three children of Federico Scotta: Elisa, Nick and Stella.
Live Scotta: When we went down to the waiting room there was nothing left. The ASL car had already gone to take them away.
Live Pablo: And have you never seen them again?
Live Scotta: Since then, no.
Live Elisa Scotta
Live Pablo: How long have you not seen your father?
Live Elisa: I haven't seen my father since I was three ...
This is Elisa Scotta.
Live Elisa: So, I remember very well the house where I was, I remember it very well. And then later ... I remember my brother, I remember him ... and then ... enough!
Elisa is now 23 years old, her eyes are just like the minutes describe them, green and slightly almond-shaped.
He asked us to say no more about her.
We can only add that she is a very smart girl and very mature for her age.
We found her on Facebook, and she immediately showed a great interest in reconstructing her story, of which she has no memories, because when she and her little brother were removed they were too young.
Federico doesn't know about his father, and he doesn't want to know anything.
Live Elisa: ... for me it is indifferent, that is, it doesn't change me ... I don't go back, and I don't want it forward. For me it stays there ... I can't say I think of it in 'father' quotes ... because it wasn't. I have had nothing, and I want nothing! That is ... he can be as innocent as he cannot be ... he made us divide, after everything that happened we were all divided ... I no longer have a relationship with my brother or sister ... it was you!
However, Elisa does not only hold grudges against her father, but she is also deeply angry with the Juvenile Court and with the Social Services.
Live Elisa: I would like to know why, after the brothers left us, they never kept us in contact ... I never had contact, for example, with my brother, with my sister ...
Elisa has searched all her life for Nick and Stella, but you have never found them, she did not know their new names, nor the cities to which they were transferred. We wanted to help you. We cannot tell you the details, but after much research, in a country not far away we found a boy, with the same date of birth and the same almond-shaped eyes that his brother Nick should have.
As soon as she saw a picture of her, Elisa had no doubts. An almost primordial instinct told her it was him.
Live Elisa: It's a strange thing that you feel eh ... so much joy!
Elisa immediately contacted Nick.
Live Elisa: And he replied "Look, I'm glad I found my sister in blood ... but I have my life, my parents have them, my sisters have them ... and I don't want to transform my life, change it, because now you come in. "(she cries) ... I don't miss parents, I miss them, that is, I don't give a damn about parents, I want to have a relationship with them, and that's it .. .
Live Pablo: With your brothers?
Live Elisa: Yes ... because we did nothing to deserve this anyway ...
The same fears and grudges that keep children away from their parents create an abyss even between brothers and sisters, separated from children, for no reason.
Nobody wants to suffer from this story anymore ... it's a closed chapter.
Live Lorraine / Scotta
Live Pablo: Lorraine, why don't you go to your children? What is holding you back?
Live Lorraine: Well ... I don't want to cause them other sufferings here ... I wonder: but they need to see me, do they need to meet me?
Live Pablo: But do you sometimes get tempted?
Live Scotta: Well yes ... I wanted to do it but ... not ... the fear of being, as I can say, judged for the fifteenth time, stopped me a lot ... because anyway, you know, it's bad to be told by a son "I don't want to see you anymore" ... or "who you are ... you are not my father, you are the one who hurt me, the one who had to protect me and you were not there". But you don't know the efforts that have been made ...
We called the PM in charge of the time, Andrea Claudiani. We wanted to hear the prosecution's version of this story. But he told us he doesn't speak to the press.
Unfortunately, even most of the Mirandola ASL professionals who worked on the case in those years did not want to talk to us.
But one of them unexpectedly opened the door for us.
This is Marcello Burgoni, at the time in charge of Social Services. Burgoni was the manager of Valeria Donati and her colleagues, and it was he who validated all their relationships regarding children.
Live Pablo: How come all the children who have passed through your social service have made these stories so strange?
Live Burgoni: It's a question I've thought about many times, and I've never been able to answer ...
Live Pablo: How did you never succeed ... that is ... Do you really believe that there were these rituals in the cemeteries? Do you believe it happened?
Live Burgoni: I don't know ... I don't know ... I have no idea, here ...
Live Pablo: You took the children away from a woman, 4 children, because another girl said that they were taken to the cemeteries, and today, after twenty years, she says "I don't know"?
Live Burgoni: No, be careful, the child said he had been abused in the family, and was subsequently removed, not before ...
Live Pablo: No, no, Burgoni, excuse me, I read the cards and it absolutely did not happen. The children were taken away, and later
claimed to have been abused ...
Live Burgoni: No ... no, no, no ...
Live Pablo: But how not? You know very well that this is not the case, the exact opposite happened!
Burgoni, visibly uncomfortable, begins to draw back. He doesn't want to continue the interview.
Live Burgoni: We close ... we close it because it does not ... it seems to me that there are no conditions for power ... history has been built and rebuilt by processes and it is that, and it cannot be otherwise, because the truth is there.
Live Pablo: Do you believe that the methodology that your psychologists applied was a correct methodology?
Live Burgoni: For the times of that time it was a correct methodology ... in the sense that it was the first experiences ...
Live Pablo: So you may have been wrong?
Live Burgoni: Nobody is infallible ... Nobody is infallible ...
Live Pablo: Here are some families that have been disrupted. There are children, little brothers, the Scotta brothers, I give you an example above all, who never saw each other again ... the same thing happened in other cases. How did this happen, Burgoni?
Live Burgoni: I'm not ... I'm not available to go on ...
Live Pablo: There are parents who have never seen their children again ...
Live Burgoni: Isn't this a threat, a blackmail against me?
Live Pablo: What?
Live Burgoni: What you told me now ...
Live Pablo: That there are parents who have never seen their children again?
Live Burgoni: Yes
The former head of Social Services in Mirandola no longer says anything, and accompanies me to the door.
Live Pablo: I ask you the last thing, and then I leave. Are you sure, in your heart, that you have not spoiled children?
... lock that closes
Dario reminds them of the meetings at the Social Services, when at age seven they kept him in a room for hours, while he was being harassed with questions even when he did not answer and continued to play.
Live Dario: And anyway those people there after ... it's not good for you to make your cocks ... "What happened, tell, go back, try to remember" ... Maybe, understood, they really put people inside of which none
he never spoke. Just because maybe one says "one bald, with a mustache" like that, that is, you go get it and you throw it in.
He admits that at the end of the talks he was willing to tell anything, to come up with any name, just to get away from there. We would have liked to ask him many other things, but it was not possible.
After our meeting, on that dirt road, he spent a whole night sending us emails and messages on Whatsapp. He wanted to understand more. He was almost elated.
He had finally found someone to submit to the doubts that beset him.
He seemed relieved that he no longer felt guilty for crimes he had never committed.
But then, for a whole day, he disappeared.
And he reappeared with a message with a completely different tone: "Try to get closer to my house and break the cock of my family, and see what awaits you ... stay out of my life and that of the people around me, if not you want problems with the carabinieri ". He was suddenly convinced that Alessia and I were ghosts from the past. People who wanted to persecute him. They wanted to hurt him.
We tried to make him think, but there was no way.
It was better to leave him alone.
We were then contacted by his brother Matteo, who explained to us how their foster mother had terrified Dario once he learned of our meeting.
This paranoid and hyper-protective attitude, which Mrs. Tonini seems to have had since she was entrusted to her, is one of the recurring elements in cases like this all over the world.
A hyper apprehensive mother ...
Live Tonini: I call the police ... don't add anything ... really ... Who interprets the child's stories in a negative way, even when it comes to jokes that his natural brother Igor does to his sister Barbara under the covers.
Live Barbara: ... but it never happened that he abused me, absolutely not.
Igor: ... I just tickled my sister ...
And psychologists who believe in women and start digging.
Among the videos we found in Oddina's attic there was also one by Dario. His first interview with the Preliminary Investigation Judge.
In this meeting, the boy spoke the words that will become the foundation of all the processes that have marked this story.
The audio of this VHS is very spoiled, so we will help you.
11 July 1997.
Dario says: "Tomorrow I go to the sea"
Live Dario: I'm going to the beach tomorrow ...
"Where do you go to the sea?"
Live judge: Where are you going to the sea?
"On the Gargano"
Live Dario: On the Gargano ...
The boy is happy because he is about to leave for the holidays.
The judge asks him: “Are we there? We can start?"
Live judge: Are we there? We can start?
And the psychologist adds: "Do you have the sea on your head?"
Live psychologist:… do you have the sea on your head?
Dario is small, very easily distracted and has his mind elsewhere. Talk about the
puppies that have just given birth to their cat.
Live Dario: You know that my cat called Luna made puppies ...
Live judge: But it goes?
Live Dario: ... who took away ...
It is difficult for judges and psychologists to return his attention to the topic of the interview. Therefore they remind him that the more he wastes time, the more "the sea moves away".
Live judge: Watch the sea go away, huh ...
Dario asks: "When I have finished everything, will I go away immediately?" And the judge and the
psychologist: "immediately away!"
Dario: When I have finished everything, do I immediately go away?
Live judge / psychologist: Immediately away, go to the beach ...
But the judge presses him. First he must speak.
"The faster you tell, the closer the sea gets, you know?"
Live judge: The faster you tell, the closer the sea gets, you know?
Dario, however, shows signs of fatigue, they try to encourage him by stroking his back, and the judge asks him if he wants to stay in Valeria Donati's lap for a while: "Do you want to stay in Valeria's lap?".
Live judge: ... do you want to be in Valeria's arms?
The psychologist reminds him: "There is a blue sea there ..."
Live psychologist: There is a blue sea there ...
And the judge adds: "But first you have to give me a hand, eh, if not ..."
Live judge: But first you have to give me a hand, eh, if not ...
At this point Dario begins to answer the questions and repeats the stories he made weeks before to the psychologists: the abuses in the family, the father, the brother Igor.
To help him make him draw and play. But it keeps getting distracted. And then a psychologist suggests to let him rest for a minute.
When they resume, the woman says to him: "Come on, get your muscles out!".
And then: "If you can say everything that really happened, when you go out that door, you enjoy more volleyball, the sea, everything you do".
Live psychologist: If you can say everything that really happened, when you go out that door, you enjoy more volleyball, the sea, everything you do ...
And then he adds: "Looking at your muscles you will think: however, I was really strong!"
Live psychologist:… and looking at your muscles you will think: however, I was really strong!
Dario replies, but then stops, and says: "I don't understand anything!".
His tales, at times, become inconsistent.
He falls several times from the chair, covers his face with his hands, plays with the microphone.
It is evident that he has no desire to be there, and he no longer collaborates.
Psychologists in difficulty try to contain him physically to catch his attention.
He asks, "Do we still have to stay here?" And the judge "The more you answer, the less there
are you. "
Then the psychologist: “You are not listening, you are not listening! And this is not useful to you, it is not useful to you, otherwise we are here so much! "
Live psychologist: You are not listening, you are not listening! And this is not useful to you, it is not useful, otherwise we are here so much! And go later ...
But at that point, after more than an hour, the adults around him give up and close the interview.
Over the weeks and months that follow, there will be several more.
We have shown this video, or read its transcript to some of the experts you have heard over the course of this series, and have had a unanimous opinion.
In this interview the indications of the international protocols for listening to a minor, which had existed since before 1997, were ignored.
Dario has been heavily pressed.
They allowed him to play, or to draw while recounting a traumatic experience. A very dangerous choice, because it can confuse reality and fantasy.
Dario should not be taken in his arms, and he should not be stroked on the back while he was telling, because he was made to believe that saying certain things corresponded to physical gratification.
He was deluded that if he had told he would have felt better and stronger.
In his head he had a promise that sounded almost like blackmail "the sooner you talk, the sooner you can go."
His desire to go on vacation has turned into a weapon in the hands of adults.
He is reminded of the word 'sea' 11 times.
"If you don't tell, the sea moves away" ...
We would have liked to give Dario the opportunity to choose whether to watch this video, to try to calm the demons he carries inside, and to make him understand that all those things he could have said only because after all he was a frightened child, who felt abandoned, tossed, confused and put under constant pressure.
It all started from there. And it has irreversibly distorted this story that in the past three years has caused us nightmares too.
If we were to give an image to Poison, it would be that of a glass of water in which someone pours ink.
Everything gets confused and dark.
Everything becomes bad.
Everyone becomes guilty.
But how many really are?
That ink is made of fear, paranoia and prejudice, which have obscured the reason for those who had to investigate, and the memory of 16 children who have never returned home.
What remains of the child zero, who one day in late September 1993 ended up on the street with his parents and siblings after the eviction, is an email, which he wrote to us a few hours after our only meeting, on that cold January morning .
Poison begins and ends with him.
“Of course a child talks about fantasies, after 8 hours of stress, and pressure you just want to go to sleep. I feel sorry for all the good people who have been arrested. Until 3 years ago I still believed in everything. Or dentromagari you do not understand if it is true or not. But if a lot of things can't be remembered after you get to understand that they used you as they wanted, or for their purposes. And I blame it, because I could have been turned away, okay, but without putting in the middle of people who have never had anything to do with it in a story assembled and reassembled by a thousand children, only with different names. And the further you go, the more you hope that no one comes to give you the lesson you deserve. I have been for a year and something that I have serious doubts about everything. And I try to live without giving us too much weight. But with anger towards the people who used me. "
Poison is the result of the choral commitment of a group of professionals who worked day and night on this story.
They did it with great passion and dedication.
I want to thank them personally.
Thanks to Repubblica for the trust it has given us.
And thanks to all of you who listened to us.
POISON ENDS HERE