Several religious orders have already begun to admit some of the 251 cases with accusations of abuse of minors in the report under investigation by the Church that EL PAÍS has delivered to the Vatican and to the president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), Cardinal Juan José Omella . On the contrary, the EEC has ignored the investigation, alleges that it is directed by the Holy See from Rome and does not yet have a plan to act. Omella, archbishop of Barcelona, who received the report ten days ago, immediately handed it over to the ecclesiastical court of his diocese, which began to investigate it, but no further initiative has been taken at the moment. The 385-page report includes accusations that affect 31 dioceses and 31 orders, although the majority, 77%, belong to the latter. The congregations began to investigate from the first moment, once EL PAÍS communicated their cases to them, but the EEC distanced itself from the process.
Most of the orders maintain that they have immediately begun to review their files, even though this newspaper only sent them the names of the accused and basic information, not the full information of the dossier. With that they have already been able to give answers and hidden cases have come to light. The congregations are waiting for the EEC or the Vatican to send them the information of the study that concerns them. The EEC has scorned this newspaper’s report and its three-year work, with accusations of alleged lack of rigor that “makes it difficult to draw conclusions that could be used for a possible investigation.” Meanwhile, new messages of complaint continue to arrive, already more than 40, to the email of EL PAÍS.
Consult the list of new cases collected in three years with defendants, date and place of the events
The Marianists have admitted that they knew of one of their five cases: that of Javier Granell, who died last year, accused twice in the EL PAÍS report, but in two different schools in Zaragoza: El Pilar de Salesianos, where he was a priest, and The Pillar of Marianists, already as a lay person. This case illustrates that not only did priests and religious change centers or countries when they were accused, it also happened sometimes that they dropped their habits and simply left one school and went to another. A victim who does not wish to be identified relates that in 2009 she was studying at the Salesians in the Aragonese capital. Granell was the religion teacher. “He was a cool priest. He took a few of us out for dinner and beers. He made dinners at his house. One day we went out for a drink at the end, he and I stayed in a bar. He offered me one last drink at his house. Once there, sitting on the sofa, he began to finger me. He tried to hold me back, but I was able to hit him and run away. The last days of the course were very violent. I had to keep seeing him in class. The following year he was transferred. There were rumors that something unusual had happened, but the parents’ association even organized events in his defense so that he would stay, ”says this former student. It indicates that Granell was also the director of a downtown camp and leisure school. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more victims. It scares me to think what he could do at that time. It makes me angry and painful to think about it. ” The first time he wrote to EL PAÍS he confessed: “In the middle of the message I stopped to vomit.” The Salesians are investigating this and the rest of the cases referred, 37. They assure that they are already “looking for information in the archives” and hope to be able to contact the complainants to “listen to them and offer them any help they may require.”
Granell reappeared as a layman in the Marianists of Zaragoza. He entered the school in September 2009 and dropped out on March 31, 2012, according to the order, which states that he never knew about his past and even presented himself “with a letter of recommendation.” Daniel Luque, a former student, reconstructs what happened: “He touched one of my classmates, who told him immediately. They fired the teacher, and asked the students and former students who found out about it for discretion. The following year, Javier Granell was no longer at the center ”. Spokesmen for the Marianists assure that when they learned the facts, they communicated it to the minor’s family and the educational inspection, and that it was the teacher who left on his own initiative. But they say that the family did not want to report and the order does not know if any legal action was taken. According to this former student, Granell then went on to work at a home tutoring academy.
The order of the Capuchin Tertiaries, the Amigonians, has recognized that it already knew of two cases of the eight that were included in the dossier in its chapter. The most recent took place in January 2016 at the Montesión de Torrent school, Valencia. They claim that the congregation reported him to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Court of Instruction number 2 of Valencia and to the educational inspection, and that the accused, the secular DP, left of his own free will. “It was detected immediately by our internal channels,” they explain. A witness assures that he was also a child monitor in a parish in Tavernes, a nearby town. “They caught him because he exchanged messages on WhatsApp with several students, and the mother of one of them saw everything,” he says. The order details that the parents did not want to report and the management did, with the accusation of “inappropriate relationships” with a group of female students. But he does not know how the process ended. “We have not yet received any communication from the court,” they point out. The Amigonians admit that they do not know if this teacher has then continued teaching in some other center and continues to practice today.
The Piarists, who have eight cases in the report of this newspaper, confirm that they knew about the case of Salvador F., a religious who died in 2018 from the Escuelas Pías de Sarriá, in Barcelona. They received a complaint in 2020 for events in the 1970s, they attended to the victim and began an accompaniment process with the mediation of the Sindic de Greuges, the Catalan ombudsman. For their part, the Jesuits admit that among the cases that affect them in the study, a total of 31, some already knew about them and were investigated, but they refuse to specify which ones and with what result.
The Marists admit that they already knew of several cases of the 35 that they have in the dossier, but they do not want to clarify what they are, nor their conclusions. According to what victims who have contacted them reveal, at least three refer to the María la Inmaculada school that the congregation has in Valladolid. Another three were teachers in the 1950s in a center in the El Antiguo neighborhood, in San Sebastián: Brother Basilio, Brother Julián and another nicknamed The redhead. A former student, IB, studied there between 1958 and 1963: “I witnessed the abuse of Brother Julián. It was common for him to be teaching the class from his table on the stage with two students, one on each side. Protected by his table, the students were groped and masturbated ”, he says. This former student contacted EL PAÍS and also wrote to the order to report it. “They replied that they were sorry and that they would investigate what happened,” he explains. He also points out to Brother Basilio: “He used a room where he sold school supplies and some sweets and, incidentally, he took the opportunity to grope the students. There was another brother known as The redhead and the older ones told us that he called them and they stayed alone in a basement of the school: there this brother taught them to caress and suck the red of the dick ”.
In any case, once the investigations are opened, the orders can be very opaque when it comes to communicating their results later. The case of the Marist school in Vigo was uncovered by EL PAÍS on June 1. Eight former students from the 1960s accused up to four teachers and reported an atmosphere of horror and violence. After the publication of the article, new victims and accusations against other religious emerged. However, after almost six months, the Marists of the province of Compostela do not give any information about their research. In the dossier of this newspaper delivered to the Vatican and the Spanish bishops there are new accusations in this center.
If you know of any case of sexual abuse that has not seen the light of day, write us with your complaint to [email protected]
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.