April 22, 2021

Eight Salesian alumni from Deusto denounce "Don Chemi" for abuse | Society

Eight Salesian alumni from Deusto denounce "Don Chemi" for abuse | Society


Eight alumni of the Salesian College of Deusto (Bilbao) have denounced this week before the Ertzaintza the exsalesian José Miguel San Martín, known as Don Chemi, for sexual and physical abuse during the eighties. The complainants, of several school promotions, decided to report cases of pedophilia after Earlier this year EL PAÍS published the story of another alleged victim, José Antonio Pérez (who has also joined as a whistleblower), where he narrated how San Martín abused him between 1978 and 1980 in the center's facilities. The complaints describe touching, kissing, rape and physical aggression against children between 8 and 10 years old. In a telephone interview, the defendant denied the facts, although he admitted that "there were things that could be misinterpreted." The Salesians emphasize that they never had any complaints against San Martín, who abandoned the order in the early 90s. However, one of the complainants claims that his mother went to other parents of abused parents in 1988 to tell what happened to the school director at the time. .

The stories of Julio, Jaime, Jonás, Antonio, Pedro, Lucas and Bautista (fictitious names) are different, but they all revolve around the same feeling: fear of sexual abuse and the excessive beatings of Don Chemi. Six of them have reported sexual assaults and two of them physical. They never spoke to each other about what happened during the EGB courses in the Salesians, but the memories never left. After reading Perez's news in EL PAÍS -assumed victim they did not know- they decided to create a WhatsApp group and take some measure "so that society would know that this story was not an isolated case". Sitting around a table, six of them tell their story to this newspaper to publicize the concealment of the order, "Who knew and allowed Don Chemi to continue abusing minors". According to admit, they have proof that Chemi abused more colleagues and acquaintances. Although the crimes have prescribed, they hope that the court will find out if the defendant has continued to abuse minors.

"Psychopath, Predator, Snake Charmer", are some of the qualifiers with which all of them coincide when they describe the alleged abuser. From punches and kicks to touching and rapes. For Julio, the sequels have been so great that he still continues in therapy. Like most of his abused companions, he never counted at home the abuses he suffered both in the summer camp and in one of the soundproofed classrooms in the basement of the center. "I still remember that smell, both the one in the room and the one with its sweet perfume, and sometimes, when I go down the street, that stench comes to my memory and, involuntarily, I start to vomit," says Julio, visibly affected. The nights of insomnia accumulate and the step of denouncing, he admits, has cost him a lot. "I have moments of euphoria and depression, do you know what it means not to know full happiness?" The Church says that forgiveness is important, even elevates it to a sacrament. [los abusos] as something pastoral and ask for forgiveness as an example, "he says while holding a cup of coffee.

Antonio confesses that, in his case, the abuses have not affected him. However, by listening to their colleagues and knowing that there may be more victims, has joined the initiative to denounce "so that more affected to bring their cases to light" and justice act. He says that when Chemi sexually assaulted him, he told his family. Her mother went with the parents of another abused child to the AMPA, who went to talk with the director to tell what happened. San Martín, who at that time was tutor of the 5th year and psychological counselor, left the order shortly afterwards. The director, they say, did not advise the family to report the facts to the police. The congregation has assured this newspaper on several occasions that "they had never received any complaints about abuses of this professor" and that he merely added that "he abandoned the order back in the nineties."

Since then, San Martín has participated in various camps in the Basque Country, in some as director of them. Until this Friday morning, the website of the Aldekoa Group that is engaged in leisure activities, was hanging in its resume, where, in addition to showing his studies in psychology, he adds that he is an athletic trainer and director of several school choirs. The company has emphasized to EL PAÍS that, despite appearing as a collaborator, it has never had any employment relationship with them. Shortly after these conversations they removed their profile from their page "until the judge determines the guilt or not". The former professor calls himself Professor Kermann and on the Internet you can also find several of his books on psychology. "He's in those camps with children, if he abused Deusto, who says there can not be more victims?" At least, the parents of those children need to know that this person is accused of pedophilia, "says Antonio.

Image of the defendant at present.
Image of the defendant at present.

"They were brutal beatings"

Jaime asserts that until now, after talking with his former colleagues of what happened, he had not realized the consequences that had generated "the climate of violence" and abuse. "I'm poisoned with hate. A visceral hatred. It is to mention anything of the Salesians or of the Church in general and it makes me angry. "Jaime, together with his companions, recalls an anecdote in Don Chemi's office, when one day he took them with him. one of us picked up a plastic Oscar-winning statuette that read: 'Prize for the best teacher'. He started playing the fool and shouting that he had won an Oscar. Don Chemi entered at that moment, he let go of his guantazo and broke his lip. He closed the door with us inside and while he was healing the wound, he told us: 'This is between us.' "These episodes, they all tell, were not isolated and were repeated continuously.

"They were brutal beatings, each year I chose someone and gave him a beating in front of everyone so that we would be afraid of him," says Julio. In his course, he says, it was Jonah's turn. "I forgot the notebook and our teacher sent for him, when he arrived he started to give me fists and finally he threw me in the wastebasket", says the affected person. The alleged aggression was during the course of 1982 and 1983. At that time, San Martín was head of studies of elementary education in the center. TEveryone at the table remembers better than the attacked the beating. "You tried to escape and you fell between the desks, he went for you and started kicking you in front of everyone," Jaime tells Jonah while the rest nod their heads. Jonah tells that his mother went to talk to the director, but nothing happened.

Lucas is the other one of the alumni who has denounced physical abuse: 54 guantas before the recess bell rang. With the last, counts, he threw the desk. "Everyone spoke well of him, you had to swallow everything and create an ulcer in your stomach, it was like the character of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: The perfect teacher for mothers and for us a psychopath," adds Bautista, which describes how the ex-teacher also organized activities with mothers in the evenings at the center's facilities.

The complainants admit that they know that the crimes have been prescribed, but they trust that telling their cases will encourage other Deusto victims to leave and to investigate "possible cases that Don Chemi may have committed" and "expose the cover-up of the order of the Salesians. " Go to the Ertzaintza and remember everything again, they explain, it has been hard for them. "Bilbao is a town," they say. For that reason they use fictitious names.

"With me he abused a score of times"

Gonzalo Elorza comments that he was also abused during the 1987-1988 academic year by José Miguel San Martín. When the first case of pedophilia came to light in Deusto, he was abroad, so he has not been able to join the group of comrades who have gone to court, with whom he is in contact. "One day Antonio [uno de los denunciantes] He came to ask me if Don Chemi also abused me. We told our families and they went to talk to the director. The abuser apologized and justified himself by saying that his mother had just died. "Elorza explains that when she learned the stories of the rest of her classmates, she understood that Don Chemi had been abusing minors for a decade." It was not sporadic. With me he did it twenty times. It's just that people know what happened, "he tells through a telephone interview with EL PAÍS.

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