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Marist Brothers admit 25 cases of child abuse in Catalan schools

Catholic order says it is "profoundly ashamed" and offers compensations from 4k to 50k euros to victims

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03 December 2020 02:56 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Marist Brothers have admitted 25 cases of child abuse in their schools in Catalonia, pledging 400,000 euros worth of compensations for the victims.

The Catholic order says it is "profoundly ashamed" and offers a "heartfelt apology" after a reparation committee set last February concluded that 25 allegations of sexual abuse made by former students were true.

Compensations will range from 4,000 euros for children who were molested by teachers to 50,000 euros for one case of sustained sexual abuse throughout many years.

The cases were made public by the Mans Petites foundation, created by Josep Barbero, who as the father of a former student first reported sexual abuse by the Marist Brothers teacher Joaquim Benítez in 2016.

In 2019, Benítez was sentenced to 21 years in prison for abusing four students from 2006 to 2010 (including forced oral sex and penetration). He faced at least 13 other allegations, some going as far back as 1986, but the statute of limitations barred legal action.

Benítez’s case prompted other victims to speak up and share their stories, but in many cases it was too late to launch a judicial investigation.

The 25 child abuse cases admitted by the Marist Brothers on Thursday were committed by eight different teachers, none of whom have faced trial.

Initially, 31 former students had reported sexual abuse, but six retracted from submitting their cases to the reparation committee.

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  • Maristes-les Corts school with graffiti saying 'violadors' on March 25, 2019 (ceded)

  • Maristes-les Corts school with graffiti saying 'violadors' on March 25, 2019 (ceded)

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