Montserrat abbot apologizes to abuse victims amid calls for resignation
Sexual abuse accusations against priest span almost 30 years
The father abbot of Montserrat has apologized to the victims of priest Andreu Soler, accused by at least five men of sexually abusing them when they were part of the monastery scouts.
"I apologize to the victims," said Josep Maria Soler in his homily on Sunday, and added that the stories coming to light "are painful because they undermine our trust."
The monastery of Montserrat set up an independent committee to review the alleged cases of sexual abuse over a week ago, after Miguel Hurtado said he was abused by Soler in the 1990s when he was part of the scouts.
More alleged victims went public following Hurtado’s example and accused Soler of abusing them. The victims have reported cases spanning from the early 1970s to the late 1990s.
"They are more interested in the reputation of the institution than in protecting minors"
Josep Maria Soler · Father Abbot of Montserrat
The iconic monastery atop the famous Catalan mountain has only admitted knowing the events involving Miguel Hurtado and said no other cases has been reported throughout the years.
Hurtado said that the institution had "covered up" the events and they only paid him 8,600 euros for therapy costs when he confronted the monastery about the events in 1998 at the age of 17.
Victim calls for abbot to step down
While the institution reacted to the news saying that they had launched an internal investigation in 1998, Hurtado said this is a "lie" and called for the abbot’s resignation.
"They are more interested in the reputation of the institution than in protecting minors," he said.
The monk accused is Andreu Soler, in charge of the scouting movement in Montserrat for 40 years and who died in 2008.