The Spanish Church has not only used the system to change to parish priests, or destination within a order, after being accused of child abuse. Another pattern of conduct of the past decades has been to move abroad. Confirm this to be the sources of the vatican agencies of Guardianship of Minors, who recognize that has been a common tactic in Spain and other countries. THE COUNTRY has been documented up to 18 cases of cures reported or convicted for abuses that have come ashore in other countries or have been accused or arrested overseas. In Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Honduras, united States, Benin, and Kenya.

Some were news in its day, but not followed its later steps. Others went almost unnoticed in Spain. There are also cases unpublished, in the wake of accusations of victims located by this newspaper, as two salesians of the college of Deusto, in Bilbao. THE COUNTRY will report on the major cases in the coming days.


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One of the more egregious examples is that of Jordi, Ignasi Senabre, terminated by an altar boy of 13 years of Barcelona in 1988 and given to the leak. This newspaper has been located in Ecuador, where he has served until today as a priest, and the bishop of Barcelona has known all his whereabouts, according to the diocese of ecuador in Santo Domingo.

The situation of many of the most important cases of this period came to be known in Rome much later that would have happened. At times could not be investigated due to lack of collaboration of the bishops, or because the victims chose not to provide his testimony. Sources of organs for the protection of Minors vatican point out that the exile of priests could not come to be a practice relatively common during a period, but that the pope Francisco, with its policy of zero tolerance, calls for a radical change, and many cases have been reopened and reviewed.

In the 18 cases analyzed, we distinguish between two types of situations: religious that are discovered in Spain and are transferred abroad, and those who are detained in another country for these crimes. Then arises the question of whether they had previous accusations in their place of origin, as has just been demonstrated in occasions.

The last well-known episode is that of the augustinian recollect Ivan Merino, arrested in Venezuela two weeks ago, accused of abusing a minor. In this case, both your order, as the diocese of Granada, where he was a professor at a college until 2015 to ensure that your transfer had nothing to do with prior complaints and that do not contain any. The same is true with the case of Joan Alonso Bonals, age 53, pastor of Alcanar and Les Cases de Alcanar between 2011 and 2016 (Tarragona), which moved to Honduras. He was arrested there in August 2017 for a warrant of arrest issued by Spain and extradited. Is accused of child abuse and prostituting a minor of 16 years. The diocese of Tortosa maintained that it does not consist of prior complaints against him. Is on parole.

In contrast, the detention in Chile in 2009, Jose Angel Arregui, of the order of St. Viator, uncovered crimes committed by the priest earlier in Spain. There were complaints in the seven colleges that had happened in the Basque Country, Aragón and Madrid. He was convicted in 2011, but part of the cases had been prescribed. Currently, he is in freedom, confirms his former congregation.

Many Sekabet of these priests belong to religious orders, which have structure in the overseas. Highlights the case of the marists in Chile: four Spanish priests are being investigated within a large open case against the order. The diocese, for its part, may send priests to other countries as missionaries, fidei donum, loaned temporarily to other bishoprics, although they continue to belong to their affiliation of origin. It is frequent that the Spanish dioceses have historical relations with other countries.

The priest of Toledo Santiago Martínez Valentín-Gamazo, 42, was jailed in Peru last year, accused of abusing four minors in Moyobamba. He came to the country in 2007. According to the diocese of Toledo, “was voluntary, as the other priests of the diocese”. Claim that does not have complaints in Spain.

Gil Jose Saez, judicial vicar of the diocese of Cartagena and a specialist in sexual abuse in the Church, admits that although this practice has not been the most common, “was another of the modes used by the bishops and the superiors of the orders to cover the cases of pedophilia”. This procedure involves “a radical change in the life of the abuser”, so it is difficult to “force you” to leave their country. The transfer also depends on the contacts of the bishop abroad. Hence, says the vicar, that it is more common in religious orders.

The greatest event of the last decades in Catalonia

At Barcelona there is an old case very unique: accused of child abuse in the eighties who rode his own order, and continued to commit abuses in Africa and Latin America, according to sources in the church. Is the Missionary Community of Saint Paul the Apostle and Mary Mother of the Church (MCSPA, in its acronym in English), Albert Salvans, Pere Cané and Francisco Andreo, the greatest case of abuse in the Catalan Church of the last decades.

transfers have occurred, other times after a confirmed conviction, but without further disciplinary sanctions. It happened with the augustinian recollect Jose Luis Untoria, sentenced in 1997 for abuse of 10 minors in a college of Salamanca. He received a fine and a ban from teaching for 10 years. A few months later he was sent to Peru, to 2009. Same thing happened with the jesuit Luis Tó González, professor of the colegio San Ignacio in Barcelona, sentenced in 1992 to two years in prison for abusing a minor. Your order will sent that year to Bolivia, where he resided until his death in 2017. Consulted on these two orders, see nothing unusual in the decision to keep them out of the country and ensure that after you had no complaints. However, the jesuits themselves admit faults: “you opened up a canonical process, and clearly we understand that this was wrong (…), the actions taken in cases of abuse has not been at the height, on the whole, thinking in the care of the victims and the lack of answers more blunt, and that’s why we ask for forgiveness”.

For Gema Varona, an expert in child abuse and is the president of the Basque Society of Victimology, has been a conduct entirely anomalous and “vergonzos”. Varona has spent years investigating the abuses in the catholic Church, and is developing the first study in Spain on the subject. “It is a practice of the catholic Church documented in many countries, such as Germany and Belgium. What is perverse is that it is a way for abusers to continue abusing, because in these people there is always a continuity, are likely to follow, and even more so if there has not been a treatment and appropriate measures. It is among the gravest errors that the Church must ask for forgiveness one day.”

David and Goliath

This expert, who has interviewed dozens of victims, points out that to know that their attackers have been sent to another part it hurts a lot, “because the only thing that worries the one who has suffered is that it does not repeat, but are sent to locations with more conducive conditions for their crimes.” Stresses that, in the countries of destination, the Church tends to have a yet greater power, predators have access to families with the greatest vulnerability and the local justice is less efficient.

For Jose Ramon Juarez, a psychologist and expert in some of the abuse cases tried in Chile, not only to consider the difficulty of the victim to report, but the inferiority of the abused in front of the Church. “For the victim is not just David against Goliath, it is almost David against the representative of God”, she explains. Juarez, a specialist in abuse in Latin america and a member of the Catalan association Mans Petites, underlines the fact that the ecclesiastical hierarchy tend to have more influence in these countries, “by the great difference between the social classes or by strong social presence that you possess, for their numerous charitable activities, which translates into greater impunity.”

In 2002, when he began the abuse scandal in the Church, one of the first books published in Spain about the phenomenon already pointed everything. Pepe Rodríguez, coordinator of the faculty of Communication Sciences of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, wrote in Pedophilia in the catholic Church (Ediciones B): “a priest who sexually abuses children will often move to parishes becoming more humble —under the belief that people with limited economic means and cultural supports to better abuse and does not have the resources or credibility to confront the Church, although, when the scandal begins to erupt, or threaten to do so, it is very common to send the cleric to another country. The most popular destination of the clergy pedophile Spanish is to Latin america”.

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