Bad, Very Bad, Fathers Not Worthy of Father's Day

Sadists like 'Brazilian Fritzl' who imprisoned children leave lifelong scars.

ByABC News
June 16, 2010, 2:02 PM

June 17, 2010 -- This case will sound familiar: Jose Agostinho Pereira, a 54-year-old man from a remote corner of Brazil, has been charged with raping his daughter daily and abusing the seven children he fathered with her.

Headlines last week declared him the "Brazilian Fritzl" because the case was so similar to that of Josef Fritzl, a German engineer who locked his daughter in a cramped basement for 17 years, impregnating her four times.

Some fathers, it seems, are not worthy of celebration this Father's Day.

An estimated 772,000 children are the victims of maltreatment each year in the United States, according to the Administration for Children and Families, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

About 71 percent of these are crimes of neglect. But most are not as horrific as those committed by sadist fathers, those who derive pleasure from cruelty to others.

Psychologists say these men seek psychological domination, often lacking empathy for the emotions of others, feeling a sense of entitlement and experiencing sex not as an act of intimacy, but as purely gratification.

Police allege that for 12 years Pereira imprisoned his daughter, Sandra Maria Monteiro, now 28, in a two-room thatched hut in a small fishing village in the northeast state of Maranhao in Brazil.

She was only 12 when the abuse started, police said.

Police were tipped off by an anonymous phone call during a local campaign about pedophilia, according to Reuters. They found six of the seven children -- four girls and three boys between the ages of 2 months and 12 years old -- naked, dirty and malnourished.

Pereira, who reportedly gave a partial confession to police, had threatened to kill them if they tried to escape. He said the abuse began in 1998 after his wife left him.

Like the Fritzl children, they were barely able to communicate, speaking in growls and groans.

The alleged abuse is thought to have begun when Pereira's wife walked out on him in 1998.