EL PAÍS launched an investigation into pedophilia in the Spanish Church in 2018 and has a database updated with all known cases. If you know of a case that has not seen the light of day, you can write to us at: [email protected]. If it is a case in Latin America, the address is: [email protected].
Without any kind of reference to the uncovered cases of abuse or allusion to repentance or forgiveness, the prior of the Carmelite order of Vila-real, David Oliver, collected the city’s gold medal on Wednesday. The distinction has been awarded, at the proposal of the mayor, José Benlloch (PSPV), due to the involvement of the order in the city and its concern for “injustices”, as stated in the municipal act granting the recognition read at the beginning of the act .
In his speech, the prior spoke of the young people and students who have passed through the center and thanked the work of the teachers who “turned it into a meeting place.”
The plenary session of the Vila-real City Council approved the awarding of the medal in November two months after this newspaper uncovered a case of abuse in the 1970s, with five testimonies accusing two religious. The proposal, raised before the publication of the article, was not questioned despite the fact that the order has not given any explanations or information about the case.
Both the mayor and the president of the Valencian Generalitat, Ximo Puig, who attended the event, were rebuked at the entrance and exit of the municipal auditorium by a dozen people who carried a banner under the slogan “No to the abuse of minors. The medals for the victims, never for the abusers”. Puig was accused, loudly, of being an accomplice, while chanting: “Pedophiles out of our schools.” Among them was Adolfo Martínez, a contemporary of the three friends who denounced abuses at the hands of the rector of the center, Francisco Armell Benavent, now deceased. In his case, according to his account, it was not sexual abuse but physical abuse, which he tried to report then, in May 1976, to the Civil Guard, but was dissuaded from doing so. Martínez is also from the same generation as the current prior of the Vila-real Carmelites, whom he demands to ask for forgiveness, to give dignity to the medal in memory of the victims. He remembers, as did his classmates, that, after being denounced by a student in 1976, Armell was removed from the center.
Apart from the protests at the doors of the Auditorium, there were no reproaches or criticisms inside. On the contrary, the delivery of the award was applauded loudly by a group of young people who attended the event. In the same way, all the components of the corporation applauded despite the fact that Compromís opposed the decision, claiming that it was not the best moment for recognition and that it was better to wait. Mayor José Benlloch replied during the award ceremony that there was “no proof” of the abuses uncovered and the Podemos spokesman said he preferred to speak “on verified and tried facts.” PP, Ciudadanos and Vox also voted in favor.
The order is silent despite its promises of “full transparency.” These cases are part of the reports of this newspaper, with a total of 500 accusations, delivered to the Church and the Ombudsman in 2021 and 2022. The cases that have come to light since EL PAÍS began its investigation into Child abuse in the Church currently stands at 910 defendants with at least 1,741 victims, according to the count kept by this newspaper in the absence of official data.
If you know of any case of sexual abuse that has not seen the light of day, write to us with your complaint at [email protected]. If it is in Latin America, you can write to [email protected]
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