Police Arrest Man Seen Kissing Minor In Viral Video

 

The Police in Lagos State have arrested a man who was seen kissing a minor in a viral video.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

According to Elkana, the attention of the police was drawn to the video showing one Adeyeye Oluwatosin Babatunde, a Botany student of the Lagos State University, kissing his three years old step sister.

He said the incident happened on June 2, 2020, at their residence in Shagamu, Ogun State and after being informed the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu tasked detectives from the Gender Unit to analyse the video and apprehend the suspect.

“The team got the suspect on 5/6/2020 at about 1100 hours. He is handed over to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba for diligent prosecution in court,” the statement read.

The Commissioner, therefore, appreciated those who helped in bringing the incident to their notice.

He also urged everyone to continue to speak out against sexual abuse and gender-based violence in order to bring an end to such.

This comes days after the news of the rape and murder of several girls surfaced, sparking national outrage.

One such cases is the murder of a 100-level student of the Department of Microbiology in the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Vera Uwaila Omozuwa.

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The 22-year-old student was reported to have been raped inside a church where she went to read at the Ikpoba Hill area of Benin City, the Edo State Capital.

The men were reported to have struck her in the head with a fire extinguisher after raping her and left her for dead. She was rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital where she later died.

In like manner, other cases of rape of minors have been recorded in Oyo and Jigawa states all within the space of two weeks.

While the state and federal governments have vowed to ensure justice is served, the incidents have over the past week sparked conversations about the value of the girl child and the how the subject of rape and all forms of abuse appear to be trivialized in the country.

El-Rufai’s Son Apologises Over Rape Message

 

 

One of the sons of Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State has apologised over a message suggesting the rape of a Twitter user’s mother.

Bello El-rufai, 32, on Sunday threatened to “pass to his friends” the mother of @thanos_zer after a Twitter disagreement escalated.

“Oh and tell your mother I’m passing her to my friends tonight. No Igbo sounds please!” Mr. El-rufai had said in a private message to @thanos_zer.

The private message was later made public and elicited outrage on social media, with several civil society groups calling for Mr. El-rufai’s prosecution under the Cybercrime Act.

His mother, Hadiza, also appeared to condone her son’s behaviour after she responded to the tweet saying “all is fair in love and war.”

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Mrs. El-rufai later apologised for her tweet, saying she would “never condone sexual abuse in any shape or form.”

But her son, for much of the week, stood by his tweet and only seemingly caved in to pressure on Friday.

In his apology Friday afternoon, Mr. El-rufai, who works as a legislative aide to a Kaduna senator, said the comments were made “in the heat of the moment.”

“A few days ago I made a comment that was wrong, unbecoming and contrary to the values on which I was raised. I wish to withdraw that statement and apologise to the gentleman concerned for the hurtful comment,” he said.

“I also apologise for appearing to attack an entire ethnic group for the misdeed of one person. I regret the sexual innuendo in the private message and apologise unreservedly for it.

“I wish to state very strongly that the statement was made during the heat of the moment and I wish to put on the record that I do not condone sexual violence.”

Mr. El-rufai said he does not believe that there can be any justification for gender-based crimes, adding that he is learning from the episode in the continuous journey of emerging as a better person.

“I have apologised to my mother in person. I have also reached out to the women in my life and apologised,” he said.

“I realise that the intensity around this matter stems partly from my surname. The mistakes I made with the private message and in smearing an ethnic group because of one person are now being replicated by people that are attacking my parents and my family because of my conduct.

“I am one of many children in a family raised with standards of decency and strong values of which my recent conduct has fallen short. I appreciate the time that friends and loved ones have taken to show me the error of my ways.

“I apologise to the general public in recognition of the duty to acknowledge wrongdoing and strive to be better.”

Prince Andrew Urged To Cooperate With US Over Epstein

In this file photo taken on November 03, 2019, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves after speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Bangkok, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

 

Prince Andrew was urged Thursday to speak to lawyers representing victims of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, after the royal announced he was quitting public life because of the scandal.

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, 59, has faced days of outrage since a television interview in which he defended his friendship with the disgraced US financier.

Andrew denies claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein, who was found dead in a New York prison in August while awaiting charges of trafficking minors.

As a growing number of organisations distanced themselves from the royal and his pet projects, he said he was cancelling public engagements because of the backlash.

He said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

US lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represents five women allegedly assaulted by Epstein, told the BBC the royal should speak to everyone probing the allegations — including her.

“All of the staff who work for Prince Andrew should come and give information and evidence and the documents should be turned over — emails, texts, calendars, phone logs, travel logs — so we can get to the bottom of this,” she said.

She did not rule out approaching the prince directly to secure a sworn statement.

Later, lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents alleged victims and is Bloom’s mother, urged Andrew to speak to investigators “without delay.”

“The best way for him to begin to repair his damaged reputation would be to sit for an interview as soon as possible,” she told reporters in New York.

‘Much Worse To Come’?

Andrew’s announcement, which he said was approved by his mother and in which he belatedly expressed sympathy for Epstein’s victims, dominated British media for a fifth day.

Several newspapers said the former Royal Navy officer’s reputation was in tatters and speculated about whether he could ever return to formal royal duties.

Tabloid daily The Sun called the statement “a desperate attempt to fix the appalling failures of his TV interview over the Epstein scandal”.

“But if Andrew thinks this will draw a line under it all, he is delusional. His woes, we fear are just beginning,” it added in an editorial.

The Daily Mail said the claims, which have long cast a shadow over his duties, including as a special government trade representative, could do “serious damage” to the royal family.

“As it unravels, there may be much worse to come,” it added.

Andrew’s decision to step down was taken after “crisis talks” between the monarch herself and her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, several newspapers reported.

But as well as potentially having to be quizzed by US investigators, some cast doubt on some of Andrew’s claims.

They include that he had stayed at the residence of Britain’s consul-general to New York on one of the three occasions when he had allegedly had sex with his accuser.

Another is whether he actually met Epstein several years earlier than he claimed.

Torrid Year

The Epstein affair shows no sign of going away, as the BBC is expected to air more revelations from one of his victims in the coming days.

The scandal tops a torrid year for the royal family marked by strained relations with the media and an apparent lack of direction in terms of control of its public image.

In October, Andrew’s nephew Prince Harry was criticised for giving an interview in which he complained about media coverage of his wife, Meghan.

He then announced legal action against several tabloids for breach of privacy and phone-hacking, setting up a potentially explosive court confrontation.

The queen, now 93, described 1992 as her “annus horribilis” after heir to the throne Charles and Andrew separated from their respective wives, and her only daughter, Anne, got divorced.

Her favourite Windsor Castle residence was also partially destroyed by fire.

Commentators said the latest scandal could see a repeat, and that the withdrawal of a senior royal from public life had no precedent since king Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936.

#SexForGrades: Report Cases Of Abuse, Buhari Urges Victims

Buhari Donates $500,000, Vehicles To Guinea Bissau For Elections
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the cases of sexual violence in tertiary institutions in the country.

He faulted such incidents and appealed to victims not to cover up cases of abuse but report same to relevant agencies.

“Survivors and their families must avoid cover-up,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement on Friday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

He added, “They should be encouraged to come forth and report cases of abuses wherever and whenever they occur.”


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President Buhari was reacting to the recent high profile revelation of sexual abuse cases in institutions of higher learning in the country.

He stressed the need for stricter laws to prevent girls from being abused in schools, noting the incidents at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) which were exposed through an undercover news reporting.

The President stated he was happy that the revelation has spurred an amendment to the nation’s laws regarding the issue in the National Assembly.

He gave assurance that such proposed amendments passed by the Legislature would get his support as long as they conform to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Buhari said, “The country must do more to address incidents of sexual violence, sexual abuses in our schools, discrimination, human trafficking and cultural practices that violate women’s rights.”

He, therefore, urged law enforcement agencies and school administrators to take up such cases with every seriousness and ensure that perpetrators face the consequences of their actions.

Following the emergence of the report, UNILAG authorities had suspended two of their senior lecturers indicted in the 53-minute long video filmed by BBC.

Dr Boniface Igbeneghu of the Department of European Languages and Integrated Studies, Faculty of Arts was suspended on Monday while Dr Samuel Oladipo of the Department of Economics was suspended two days later.

Both lecturers were suspended over allegations of sexual harassment, actions the university said contravened the policy of the institution.

UNILAG authorities have also called on members of staff and students with relevant information concerning the incidents to come forward.

Modern Slavery: Police Rescue 300 ‘Tortured’ Persons In Kaduna

 

Three hundred persons chained together in Rigasa, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State have been rescued by police officers. 

The 300 which included children were rescued following a raid at a home allegedly used as an Islamic Centre.

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According to the police, the victims are from Burkina Faso, Mali and other African countries.

Channels Television gathered that adults were subjected to daily recitation of the Holy Quran and prayers, allegedly accompanied by torture.

There are also claims that some of the children had been sexually abused.

While the man who runs the home claims that parents brought their children to the home for rehabilitation, the children with chains on their legs and scars of injuries from torture on their bodies, say they are forcefully subjected to daily recitation of the Holy Quran. They added that, to them, the bursting of the building by the police is liberation from slavery.

The Proprietor of the centre, however, denied the allegations of molestation and homosexuality as totally false, saying that all they do in the centre is to teach people Islam.

He also claims that those in chains are the stubborn ones who attempt to run away.

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State commissioner of police, Ali Janga told journalists that preliminary investigation reveals that the place is neither a rehabilitation centre nor an Islamic school.

He assured that the command will get to the root of the matter to ascertain the real motive behind the centre.

The rescued children have been evacuated from the premises to the Kaduna Police command headquarters for proper profiling,  while an investigation continues on the mode of operations of the suspects and their motive for setting up the centre.

Rigasa, an agrarian community in Igabi local government area of Kaduna State,  apart from being the most densely populated community in the state, is also predominantly inhabited by Muslims.

Priests Accused Of Sexual Abuse To Face Trial

 

An Italian priest accused of sexually abusing altar boys in a seminary and another priest who allegedly facilitated that abuse have been referred to Italian justice, the Vatican said Tuesday.

A statement said the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice has recommended that Father Gabriele Martinelli stand trial over charges of sexual abuse, and that Father Enrico Radice also be tried over charges of covering it up.

The alleged abuse took place at the pre-seminary of St Pius X, an institution located on Vatican grounds that trains altar boys destined to serve at papal masses.

“The investigation was launched in 2017 following press reports,” the Vatican said. Martinelli was a seminarian and aged 21 when the alleged abuse took place.

AFP

Chelsea Staff ‘Turned Blind Eye’ To Sexual Abuse – Report

FIFA Hands Chelsea Two Transfer Windows Ban

Young hopefuls at Premier League giants Chelsea were abused for years by a “prolific and manipulative” coach as staff at the club “turned a blind eye”, an independent report said Tuesday.

The report, led by lawyer Charles Geekie, found that the club’s former chief scout Eddie Heath, who died in 1983, was able to operate “unchallenged”, abusing boys aged between 10 and 17 in the 1970s.

Victims recalled that Heath used “sexual innuendo” in the changing room, but made sure “that his most serious sexual assaults took place in private,” it added.

Heath’s behaviour was an open secret among players and staff.

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“The boys all knew it was safety in numbers, you didn’t want to be the last in the van, you risked being groped by him or having your bum slapped. He was regarded as ‘Nightmare Eddie’,” one witness said.

Chelsea said in a statement that “Heath was a dangerous and prolific child abuser” whose conduct was “beyond reprehensible”.

“Although the club today is a very different place from the club then… we will not shy away from responsibility for what happened in the past,” it added.

Claims for compensation are being assessed by insurers for the former European champions.

‘Manipulative risk-taker’ 

Heath was sacked when England World Cup-winning hero Geoff Hurst took over the club in 1979. But the former striker, now aged 77, denied knowing about Heath’s behaviour and turned down requests to be interviewed for the report.

Geekie talked to 23 witnesses who claim that they were targeted by Heath, saying they painted a picture of an “audacious, manipulative risk-taker”.

One witness said staff and players “must have known or been suspicious of what he was doing… but turned a blind eye to it.”

One former player described how Heath would come into the urinals and watch, while another said he peered over the shower cubicle while he was inside.

Heath would lavish praise on his “favourites”, inviting them around to his house to watch football matches, offering out money and sweets and befriending their parents.

Many said they were fearful of telling the authorities and getting Heath into trouble, while others “wanted to impress him” to ensure they kept being picked.

One former player said the abuse had had a “massive impact on me and my family”.

Veteran manager Dario Gradi, who worked at Chelsea at the time, also came in for criticism, with the report finding he failed to report Heath despite receiving a complaint that he had indecently assaulted a boy in the showers.

Ex-Chelsea football star Alan Hudson said it was “common knowledge” that Heath was a paedophile.

“It was common knowledge that Eddie Heath was a ‘nonce’ (slang for paedophile),” Hudson wrote on Facebook when the allegations first surfaced.

Players from other London clubs he worked for, Leyton Orient and Charlton, also came forward about his predatory behaviour.

AFP

Cardi B’s ‘Dirty Past’ Sparks Controversy On Social Media

This January 25, 2018 file photo shows Cardi B attending the Warner Music Group’s annual Grammy celebration in association with V magazine in New York. Cardi B, who has quickly risen to become one of the most prominent women in hip-hop, has become a mother, announcing Wednesday, July 11, 2018 the birth of daughter Kulture Kiari Cephus.
KENA BETANCUR / AFP

 

Popular American rapper, singer and songwriter, Cardi B, is currently trending on Social Media following a video which resurfaced online.

In the InsaLive video, which the singer says was done three years ago, she had admitted to drugging and robbing men as a means of survival.

While she admits she isn’t proud of that ‘dirty past’ and no longer tows that path, she has been called out by critics in the wake of similar cases involving other celebrities.

“All I can do now is be a better me for myself my family and my future,” the mother of one said.

 

 

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All I can do now is be a better me for myself my family and my future.

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Many have likened her situation to that of R. Kelly and Bill Cosby who have been accused of sexual assault and some have even asked that a case be taken up against her as with the two celebrities.

“Is there any chance at all that a man could admit to drugging and robbing women and still keep his career?” a Twitter user asked as questions of equality are also being raised.

Read Also: New R. Kelly Sex Abuse Tape Discovered, Says Lawyer

Some fans, have, however, argued that while her actions were indeed criminal, she no longer tows the path and she can’t be compared to other celebrities who allegedly committed the crimes despite their status and privilege.

 

Below are some of the comments.

Alleged Sexual Abuse: Pope Accepts Chile Cardinal Ezzati’s Resignation

Pope Francis with some Cardinals at the Vatican in Rome, Italy. Source: AFP

 

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Chilean Cardinal Riccardo Ezzati, who had agreed to step down along with his country’s bishops over sexual abuse cases and their cover-up, the Vatican said Saturday.

Ezzati, archbishop of Santiago, is the seventh senior Chilean church official to resign over a scandal which the pope insists must be remedied.

To date, Ezzati, the Catholic Church’s highest official in Chile, has maintained his right to silence although he has promised to cooperate with the investigation into his activities — if the authorities first clear him, insisting he is innocent.

The latest move in the Vatican’s attempts to deal with abuse within the higher echelons of the Roman Catholic Church comes just days after disgraced Australian Cardinal George Pell received a jail term for sexually abusing two choirboys.

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Pell, 77, and the former Vatican number three has maintained his innocence and says he plans to appeal his conviction on five offences including oral rape and molestation of the boys in 1996-1997.

The decision over Ezzati also comes with Chilean media reporting that the nation’s court of appeal had Friday confirmed he would face trial for not denouncing sexual abuse by three priests.

It also comes after Argentine Pope Francis last Monday rejected the resignation of French cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was handed a six-month suspended jail sentence earlier this month for failing to report sex abuse by a priest under his authority. Barbarin has appealed.

The pontiff stated last month that “no abuse must ever be covered up, as has happened in the past” as the Church struggles to restore trust in its efforts to fight child abuse given the slew of abuse cases.

In October, Francis did, reluctantly, accept the resignation of US cardinal and Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl, accused of helping to cover up hundreds of child abuse cases in his former diocese.

And in February the pontiff defrocked former cardinal American Theodore McCarrick, 88, who a Vatican court found guilty of sexually abusing a teenager 50 years ago.

McCarrick became the first cardinal ever to be defrocked for sex abuse.

AFP

‘Simpsons’ Creators Drop Classic Episode Featuring Michael Jackson

A documentary on pedophilia accusations against Michael Jackson has left some fans grappling with the late superstar’s tarnished legacy.  Photo: LUKE FRAZZA / AFP FILES / AFP

 

The creators of “The Simpsons” have shelved one of the animated series’ classic episodes because it features Michael Jackson’s voice, the show’s executive producer told The Wall Street Journal Friday.

Simpsons producers made the unanimous decision after viewing the bombshell documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which revives pedophilia accusations against the late megastar in excruciating detail.

“It feels clearly the only choice to make,” Simpsons executive producer James L. Brooks told the WSJ.

The move appears to be the first such artistic ban in the United States since the documentary aired on US network HBO earlier this week. Several radio stations in Canada, New Zealand and Australia have stripped Jackson songs from their playlists in light of the film.

The 1991 episode in question sees Homer Simpson meet a mental hospital patient who believes he is the pop star Michael Jackson, and speaks in the star’s signature high pitch.

Entitled “Stark Raving Dad,” the segment that aired on Fox in the show’s third season triggered intense fan speculation because Jackson’s name was not in the credits.

But just last year, Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening confirmed Jackson had indeed done the voice work — but not the song bit.

“When it came time to sing the songs, he had a sound-alike singer,” Groening told Australian television.

“And he stood there and watched the guy who was so nervous, who had to sound like Michael Jackson.”

Brooks told the paper the episode had been one of his favourites — but that pulling it was necessary in light of the documentary.

“This was a treasured episode. There are a lot of great memories we have wrapped up in that one, and this certainly doesn’t allow them to remain,” Brooks said, citing “evidence of monstrous behaviour.”

Prior to his 2009 death, Jackson emphatically denied molesting children, and was acquitted of child abuse charges in 2005 after a dramatic trial.

The late superstar’s estate has smeared the documentary as a “posthumous character assassination,” and is suing HBO for $100 million.

Brooks told the paper the Simpsons episode would be removed from streaming services, TV stations and box sets, a process that “has started.”

“I’m against book burning of any kind. But this is our book, and we’re allowed to take out a chapter,” Brooks said.

AFP

Bombshell Film Reignites Michael Jackson Abuse Firestorm

Two men who say the late King of Pop for years sexually abused them as minors.
Timothy A. CLARY / AFP

 

For his ardent global fan base, the dream of Michael Jackson lives — his art omnipresent, his cultural influence unparalleled, his trail of alleged transgressions swept away.

But an unflinching new documentary on pedophilia accusations against the late King of Pop has shattered the glittering veneer to present in lurid detail the stories of two men who say Jackson sexually abused them for years as minors.

“Leaving Neverland,” a four-hour film by British director Dan Reed, is considered so potentially devastating that counseling was made available at its Sundance Film Festival premiere in January.

US cable network HBO will air it in two parts, starting Sunday.

The documentary centers on James Safechuck, 41, and Wade Robson, 36, who recount separate but consistent accounts of how their idol molested them as boys.

Both describe how the childlike Jackson wooed them: inviting them into his fairytale existence, gaining their families’ trust and manipulating them into keeping their sexual relations secret.

“You and I were brought together by God,” Robson said Jackson told him.

Their mothers offer their own narratives of seduction into the cult of Jackson — and the guilt that haunts them for letting their sons enter so fully into the star’s world.

Now a notable choreographer, Robson, originally from Australia, met Jackson as a five-year-old after winning a dance competition.

The megastar invited the boy to his Neverland Ranch in California, where Robson, by then seven, said the abuse began.

He describes how their sexual relationship “escalated rapidly,” with Jackson telling him: “This is us showing each other that we love each other.”

Safechuck — who said his abuse began at age 10, after he appeared in a Pepsi commercial with Jackson — tells a similar tale.

He says the superstar told him if anyone found out, their lives “would be over.”

Decades of denial

It’s not the first public airing of abuse claims against Jackson but the release marks the first major explosion of the scandal since his fatal overdose at age 50, almost ten years ago.

His estate has vehemently defended Jackson, suing HBO for $100 million over a “posthumous character assassination” it says breaches an agreement made not to disparage the icon, a condition for airing one of his concerts.

Jackson faced accusations in 1993 of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy and settled out of court, with Robson and Safechuck saying Jackson hadn’t touched them.

In 2003 more accusations triggered a dramatic trial: that time, Safechuck kept a distance, but Robson testified for Jackson, who was acquitted.

Despite repeated questioning from the authorities and their families, neither man reversed their stories until recently, after becoming fathers themselves. Both filed their own lawsuits that were dismissed over statutes of limitations.

“You loved him in a lot of ways. And then you know Michael does these things to you that are not healthy,” Safechuck said.

“It’s really hard to have those two feelings together. I still, today, am grappling with that.”

‘Prolific pedophile’

“Leaving Neverland” comes in the wake of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, and as R&B superstar R. Kelly faces a fresh legal reckoning for his own questionable history with underage girls.

For pop culture scholar Robert Thompson of Syracuse University, the release in today’s #MeToo context is key: Jackson’s trial was relatively recent, but “in so many ways, consciousnesses have been raised.”

“I could certainly see how a documentary this far out could completely change his legacy,” Thompson said.

Jackson’s sprawling homestead is back on the market for $31 million — some 70 percent less than the asking price four years ago, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Diane Dimond, a journalist who covered the Jackson saga for years and has penned a book on the subject, said she expects more men will come forward.

“He was a prolific pedophile, that did what he did right under our noses because he knew he was so adored that he could get away with it,” she said.

‘Ripples of impact’

But the fans, Dimond said, “will forever think that he was like Jesus.”

“Jackson somehow strikes a chord, even today, in the very soul of people,” she added.

Thompson agrees, saying there’s little chance of erasing Jackson’s artistic legacy, even if his reputation is tarnished.

“In any sense of rational history, we cannot retroactively say that no, Michael Jackson didn’t change the history of global pop — because he did change the history of global pop,” Thompson said.

“The ripples of impact that he sent out were not ripples; they were tsunamis.”

For Safechuck, whose trembling hands in the film betray his struggle for calm, it’s a statement that rings all too true.

“They say time heals all wounds,” Safechuck said. “But I don’t think time heals this one. It just gets worse.”

AFP

Spanish Victims Of Sex Abuse By Priests Speak Out

File Photo: Survivors of sexual abuse by priests and clergy stand before photos of accused religious men during a news conference with lawyer Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson & Associates on February 14, 2019 in New York City. Anderson, who has specialized in representing survivors of clergy abuse, announced the filing of a lawsuit naming the Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men for concealing from the public, parishioners, and law enforcement, the histories and identities of religious order of priests and brothers accused of sexually abusing children. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP
SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

A trickle of accusations of sexual abuse against priests in schools and seminaries is starting to erode the wall of silence in Catholic Spain, whose Church representatives are set to attend a major Vatican meeting on child protection.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg,” warned Miguel Hurtado, who recently made his case public.

“They’re not ready for the tsunami that is coming,” the 36-year-old said defiantly.

For 20 years, Hurtado stayed quiet, trying to come to terms with the abuse he suffered when he joined a boy scout troup at the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, which sits high up in jagged mountains northwest of Barcelona.

His alleged abuser, whom Hurtado accuses of fondling him for a year, was a charismatic monk who founded the group and died in 2008.

“I would have reported it earlier but I was a kid and I was too scared,” said Hurtado, who revealed his accusations in a Netflix documentary on abuse in Spain’s Church.

“The secret was killing me and I needed to come out with the truth, whether people believed me or not.”

Since then, nine others have come out to allege they were victims of the same monk and fresh accusations have emerged in religious schools in the Basque Country, various Catalan parishes and in a college in Barcelona.

Even the football world was affected.

On Thursday, Atletico Madrid said it had parted ways with a former monk who once trained its young players after he acknowledged having sexually abused one of his students in the 1970s.

‘Discouragement’

The heads of around 100 bishops’ conferences from every continent will convene from Thursday to Sunday for the Vatican meeting on the protection of minors.

“There is a chain-reaction… It’s easy to imagine that there is a lot hidden that has not yet come out,” says Josep Maria Tamarit, a professor in criminal law at the Catalonia Open University who is leading an investigation into the issue.

As scandals erupted in countries like the United States, Ireland or Australia, complaints in Spain were few and far between despite the Church’s loss of influence over the years, particularly with younger generations.

Hurtado believes this was down to how Spaniards deal with trauma in general.

“For example, we have dealt with the traumas of the (1936-9) civil war and the (ensuing) dictatorship via omission,” he says.

“Forgiving and forgetting as it’s part of the past. Leaving it all hidden.”

Many allegations that are proved have also either gone past the time limit in which legal proceedings can be initiated or the accused have died, says Tamarit.

“There is a lot of discouragement,” he adds.

In 2016, one of Spain’s biggest paedophile scandals erupted at schools run by the Marist Roman Catholic community in Barcelona.

Most of the 43 complaints made against 12 teachers were shelved.

Just two teachers ended up facing charges, one of whom was sentenced and the other is awaiting trial.

It’s a similar situation in Italy, another Catholic country criticised by a recent United Nations report for “the numerous cases of children having been sexually abused by religious personnel… and the low number of investigations and criminal prosecutions”.

Tamarit links this to a certain Catholic mentality which sees all sexual acts as sins and therefore “there is not much difference between any old impure act and abuse of a minor”.

“This meant it wasn’t made visible and there was no awareness of its importance and seriousness.”

Silence ‘has to stop’

In Spain though, the recent scandals have pushed the Spanish Church into action.

In October, it announced the creation of a commission to rework its protocol on abuse after being accused of covering up cases by the El Pais daily.

“There has been a kind of silence and the Church has taken part in this silence, which was also a part of society,” says Norbert Miracle, spokesman for the bishops’ conference in Catalonia and neighbouring Valencia and Andorra.

“But that has to stop.”

The justice ministry has also asked prosecutors and religious authorities for a report on all cases of abuse.

In December, it unveiled a new draft bill for child protection that wants the time frame within which legal proceedings can be initiated to start when the victim turns 30 rather than 18 as is the case now, giving victims more time to make their complaints.

But Infancia Robada (Stolen Childhood), the first such victims association created in January, is asking for this time frame to start when the victim turns 50.

“In most recent cases, this time frame wouldn’t have been of any use,” says founder Juan Cuatrecasas.