SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Spain backs move to probe child abuse in Catholic church

Spain's Parliament on Tuesday agreed to consider opening an inquiry into child sex abuse within the Roman Catholic church in a first in the once-deeply religious country.

Spain's Catholic church, which has only recognised 220 cases over the past 20 years, has never held a comprehensive investigation. Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFO
Spain's Catholic church, which has only recognised 220 cases over the past 20 years, has never held a comprehensive investigation. Photo: Oscar del Pozo/AFO

Until now, there has never been an official investigation by the Spanish government or church into alleged abuse by members of the clergy in Spain.

Podemos, the hard-left junior coalition partner in Spain’s left-wing government, as well as pro-independence parties the Catalan ERC and the Basque EH Bildu, last week filed a petition to open a parliamentary probe into the matter.

The executive body of Spain’s lower house of parliament said in a statement Tuesday it had approved the proposal.

To move forward, it will now need to be voted through by a simple majority of lawmakers, although no date has yet been set for such a vote.

The support of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist party will be key during that plenary.

The Socialists in principle support the idea of a parliamentary inquiry, but are also mulling the idea of an independent commission of experts looking into the alleged abuses, as has happened in similar cases in Australia and the Netherlands.

The centre-right Ciudadanos party backs a parliamentary inquiry, but the right-wing opposition Popular Party is opposed unless the initiative is broadened to look at “all institutions” within Spain.

The far-right Vox, Spain’s third-largest parliamentary force, is staunchly opposed to any such probe.

There are no official statistics on child sex abuse in Spain, but in 2018, El País newspaper began investigating abuse allegations and has since received details of 1,246 cases since the 1930s.

The church itself, which has only recognised 220 cases over the past 20 years, has never held a comprehensive investigation, insisting it has protocols in place to manage abuse allegations.

READ MORE: ‘No desire for truth’ in Spain’s Catholic church over child sex abuse

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CRIME

Spanish mother jailed for falsely accusing ex-husband of child abuse

A Spanish court has jailed a woman for five years for repeatedly filing false reports about her ex-husband sexually abusing their daughter.

Spanish mother jailed for falsely accusing ex-husband of child abuse

According to El Mundo daily, the sentence was unprecedented in Spain.

In a ruling handed down by a court in the southern city of Granada which was seen by AFP on Wednesday, the unnamed woman was convicted of filing false allegations, offences against moral integrity and abandonment of parental responsibility.

She was also ordered to pay €40,000 ($42,000) each to the child and her father for the harm caused by her unfounded allegations, which were aimed at securing sole custody of her daughter, now nine.

The court also took away the mother’s parental responsibility for 10 years on grounds she posed “a threat to (her daughter’s) development”, according to court documents dated Monday.

The woman had filed eight reports to the police and the courts over a two-year period, accusing her husband of abuse and on one occasion rape as they were in the throes of getting divorced.

She also took her daughter to be examined by doctors and psychologists on 10 separate occasions.

None of them ever found any evidence of the alleged abuse.

The ongoing gynaecological and psychological examinations had an impact on the child’s “psychological stability and her performance at school”, according to the court documents.

The aim was to “obtain the sole and exclusive custody” of their daughter.

The sentence, which can be appealed, described the mother as a person with a predisposition for “lying” who displayed “shameless cynicism” and “cunning malice with obsessive overtones”.

The couple married in 2010 and had a daughter in 2012. But they split up in 2017 and the problems began a year later when the father, an English teacher, requested joint custody.

After his ex-wife began filing the false allegations against him, he lost most of his students along with his “emotion stability, peace of mind and sense of calm”, the court found.

“It’s like being buried alive,” he told El Mundo.

“It’s trying to kill someone without laying a finger on them… accusing them of the vilest, worst thing that a human being can do: harming your own daughter.”

SHOW COMMENTS