March 5, 2021

A second victim accuses Montserrat friar of abuse | Society

A second victim accuses Montserrat friar of abuse | Society

A second victim accuses the friar Andreu Soler of the monastery of Montserrat of abuse. after the first case revealed a week ago by EL PAÍS. Ricard Zamora, 55, says that this monk, founder of the group scout of the sanctuary, he got into his bed when he was 15 or 16 years old and he touched him in 1978, According to the newspaper Ara. It was the first night that he stayed to sleep there and he was so scared that the window escaped and he never came back. The importance of this new accusation lies in two points. One, dating back 20 years before the abuses reported by the first victim, Miguel Hurtado, who suffered them in 1998, aged 16, and reported to the abbey. And two, that also in 1978 the family and friends of Ricard Zamora maintain that they communicated it to the superiors of the monastery.

In this way, according to these two victims, the last three abbots of Montserrat -Cassià Just, Sebastià Bardolet and the current one, Josep Maria Soler- knew and ignored the accusations against Andreu Soler, founder in 1959 of the escorts Els Nois de Servei de Montserrat and its director for 40 years. It was only set aside in 2000, a year after Hurtado's complaint. That is to say, according to these two stories, the monastery kept Soler in contact with minors for two more decades despite knowing that they were weighing accusations against him.

Sanctuary spokesmen deny it and they affirm that they had no record of this second case. "The problem we find is that, we do not know anything, that is why we have created a commission to investigate any complaint that comes from now and we ask the possible victims to contact us," they explain. Following the publication of the first case in El Pais, the monastery created this week a commission formed by the lawyer Cristina Vallejo Ros, the doctor and exconseller of the Generalitat Xavier Pomés Abella and the psychologist Begoña Elizalde Raso.

After the revelation of the first case, the monastery said that it had never been recorded more complaints. However, Hurtado maintains that those responsible acknowledged that there were rumors about Soler, who died in 2008, since the 1970s. And now Zamora reveals that his family environment already reported what happened then. The stories of the two victims are linked in a name, Sebastià Bardolet, who is now 85 years old. He is the monk to whom a friend of the family of Ricard Zamora denounced the case in 1978 and it is precisely the abbot to whom Miguel Hurtado sent his complaint in 1999. But Bardolet did nothing.

In 1978 a friend of the boy's family went to talk to Soler himself and told what happened to Bardolet, as he has testified to the newspaper Ara. Also the father of the minor spoke with a priest, Father Joan Nonell, of the Parish of La Purísima de Sabadell, now deceased, who informed Abbot Cassià Just. On the other hand, in the second case, Hurtado told him in 1999 what had happened to a monk with whom he had more confidence, Josep María Sanromà, who in turn informed Bardolet, who was then the abbot. Nothing happened and only measures were taken against the accused friar when the next abbot arrived in 2000, Josep Maria Soler, still in office. After receiving a letter from the mother of the victim, he transferred the monk to another center and paid 7,200 euros to Hurtado as compensation, but did not report it to the police, nor did he open a canonical investigation, nor did he inform the Vatican. He only did it in 2016 when Hurtado warned him that he was going to bring the case to light.

Abbot Josep Maria Soler confessed to Hurtado in a face-to-face meeting that his predecessor, Sebastià Bardolet, had not done anything after the complaint and that he "had to assume the previous browns", according to the complainant. Sanctuary spokespersons point out that Bardolet is very old and is not in a position to provide information. They claim that he has been asked about the two cases and does not remember anything.

The cover-up accusations of Miguel Hurtado against Montserrat they also reach the current abbot, Josep Maria Soler. He assures that in one of his meetings the priest revealed to him that there were already suspicions about the monk accused for years: "He confessed to me that there were rumors that he had homosexual relations with young people since the seventies, on the weekends he organized in Santa Cecilia, another site of Montserrat ". Moreover, he maintains that the abbot told him that he himself, who was then a monk, reported these gossip to the abbot of the time, Cassià Just. But, he told her, he never knew if he investigated it or not. Consulted by this specific accusation by this newspaper, the abbot has denied it through his press officer.

"That's why he acknowledged that when I reported he was not caught by surprise because he already knew the rumors, what is incredible is that he has still been in charge of minors for 40 years", laments Hurtado. The new denunciation of Ricard Zamora increases the suspicions in this line and that the three last abbots of Montserrat -Cassià Just, Sebastià Bardolet and Josep Maria Soler- knew the pedophile tendencies of Andreu Soler.

If you know of any case of sexual abuse that has not seen the light, write us with your complaint to [email protected]


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