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Spanish nuns prove virginity in bid to clear leader of order

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Spanish nuns prove virginity in bid to clear leader of order
Photo: Julinspiration / Flickr
12:20 CEST+02:00
Two nuns submitted "virginity tests" to a Galician court in an attempt to prove the leader of their religious order was innocent of sexual abuse, recently released court transcripts show.

Marta Paz and Ivana L. presented evidence of their virginity to a court in the Galician town of Tui after their leader, Feliciano Miguel Rosendo, was arrested and held without bail for crimes including sex abuse in December 2014.

Rosendo lead the Mandate and Order of Saint Michael Archangel, whose choir sang for Pope Benedict when he visited Madrid in 2011. Rosendo changed the name of the sect after he was expelled from the Roman Catholic diocese of Tui for "inappropriate behaviour".

The majority of the sect's 400 followers left after Rosendo was expelled from Tui, but a core group of supporters claim his innocence to this day.

Among them are Marta Paz, his "right hand woman", who was also originally arrested in 2014, and Ivana L. The women submitted virginity tests carried out by three experts in an attempt to prove that accusations by several other "nuns" of Rosendo's sexual abuse were false.

A woman who belonged to the sect said that Rosendo da Silva had claimed that "his semen contained the body of Christ, and this way he would purify her", according to Spanish media reports.

One former nun, Sandra L, described how Marta Paz and the Ivana L would "sleep with Rosendo on alternate days". She also described how Rosendo forced Paz, Ivana and herself to take part in orgies. 

Another nun, María P. described how she was abused by Rosendo, even after her marriage.

"I married Fernando to stop suffering abuse by Miguel, but I was surprised when, after the wedding, the abuse continued," she told the court.

"The night before the wedding, Miguel was with me because he had to 'purify me'."

Marta and Ivana, still loyal to Rosendo, provided the court with tests conducted by three experts which "proved their virginity", according to Spanish daily El Mundo.

A report carried out by experts from Madrid's Official College of Physicians states that both Paz and Ivana "have an intact hymen with no signs of having had sexual relations, recent or old. We can rule out that they had sex with vaginal penetration and there has been no deflowering."

Rosendo's lawyer, María Teresa Quintana-Drake, is using the tests as proof that her client did not commit sexual abuse.

"There are lost of witnesses but they have no proof," Quintana-Drake said, after the evidence was made public. 

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