The archdiocese of Madrid has published this Monday the annual data of Repara, its office for attention to victims of sexual abuse, which in 2021 counts 10 complaints against members of the Church, half of them minors. All of them are unpublished cases that he is investigating together with the eight revealed by EL PAÍS in the report delivered last December to the Pope and the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE). “At the moment, the existing information is being contrasted, each situation is being investigated in accordance with the established protocols and, when the time comes, they will be incorporated into the figures provided,” he explains. a statement about the dossier of this newspaper.
The Madrid archbishopric is one of the exceptions in the general policy of opacity of the Spanish dioceses: it is committed to total transparency and follows a different line from the EEC, since its intention is that all cases come to light and know the truth about the problem. They intend, according to Repara spokesmen, to demolish the “myths” that have arisen around pederasty in the Church, such as “that the cases committed by clerics are few, that they are episodes that seek to harm the Church or that the victim has invented”.
The accounting of this newspaper of cases of abuse in the Church, the only one in Spain in the absence of official data or ecclesiastical institutions, already adds up to more than 1,300 victims in more than 600 cases. Cardinal Carlos Osoro, head of the diocese, opened the Repair service with the intention of serving those affected by sexual assault, both inside and outside the Church. In fact, its offices are located outside the archbishop’s headquarters and do not have any religious symbols. It has received another 39 complaints from people who accuse a family member or another individual of abuse. Eight of them currently affect minors. To this are added another 23 cases of physical violence, mistreatment or abuse of authority by clerics over other members of the Church. In total, there are 72 direct victims of episodes in recent decades (11 men and 61 women).
The cases of sexual abuse that directly concern the Archdiocese of Madrid are of two priests accused of assaulting two adults. A third priest accused of pedophilia belongs to another episcopate, although Repara has not specified which one. The remaining cases point to seven religious, whose investigations should face their respective orders, but that this service attends in any case: four abused minors and three adults. Repara has not reported which order they belong to either. After receiving the complaints, the office has informed the competent entities so that they act in accordance with ecclesiastical norms.
More than 700 free sessions of psychological attention
The Archdiocese of Madrid is one of the few that makes public the number of abuse cases known to it, a practice that began in 2020 with its first annual report. For its part, the EEC has always denied knowing how many cases there are in Spain and refuses to create an independent commission to review its past. In the same way, he criticized an alleged lack of rigor in the report of this newspaper and then has distanced himself from the great open investigation, as well as coordinating the listening of the more than 250 denouncers of the dossier, who must address 70 different entities, among dioceses and religious orders, each with highly variable criteria and desire for transparency.
Madrid is one of the only eight dioceses, of the 31 involved, that has asked EL PAÍS to contact the denouncers of abuses in the report to make themselves available to them. The Repara office considers a reparation “essential” for those affected to recover. He insists that “its doors are open to any victim”, through the mail [email protected] or by telephone 618304666. Repara specifies that he has psychologically treated the 72 affected and 31 relatives. “All these people were offered more than 700 free sessions of psychological care and listening, compared to 400 in 2020. Individual therapy was also joined by mutual help groups. And the demand for canonical and legal advice also grew,” he says. The office also therapeutically accompanied five aggressors. It has also launched training courses on the prevention of abuse in the pastoral and educational fields for about 600 priests and 200 lay people.
If you know of a case of sexual abuse that has not seen the light of day, write to us at [email protected]