Ombudsman denounces 'concealment' of sexual abuse by Catholic Church
Investigation underway as new cases are reported
The Catalan Ombudsman denounced the "concealment and invisibility" of sexual abuse cases against minors by members of the Catholic Church.
Rafael Ribó said the institution he presides over has started an investigation into the cases that have emerged across the country recently, including at the iconic monastery on Montserrat mountain.
The Ombudsman said that for years several Catholic centers "supposedly knew" about some cases but did not inform the religious authorities. "No action to find out whether other minors had suffered from it were taken," he added.
Ribó said that prevention is important and awareness needs to be raised over this issue. His institution will launch an independent committee to contribute to the investigation.
Several cases reported across Catalonia
The Ombudsman's remarks on Friday come after several people have recently stepped forward to allege that as children they suffered sexual abuse in different religious centers.
The first case was that of Miguel Hurtado, who said in late January that he was abused by a Montserrat monastery monk as a child in the 1990s when he was part of the monastery scouts.
"No action to find out whether other minors had suffered from it were taken"
Rafael Ribó · Catalan ombudsman
Since then, 10 other people have reported being the victims of abuse by the same monk, from the early 1970s to the late 1990s.
The abbot of Montserrat apologized for the cases a few days later.
Several former students from a Girona school (Bell-lloc) also reported that as children they were victims of sexual abuse committed by a priest between the 1960s and the '90s, while two more in Montgat, near Barcelona (Mireia school) have also stepped forward.
"Sometimes people have bad moments"
Two rectors in the Tarragona area also allegedly abused children in 2015 and 2016, and were fired a few days ago.
Yet, the archbishop of Tarragona's remarks on the issue sparked outrage. "Sometimes people have bad moments that they regret for their whole life," he said.