The silence that V. C. kept for more than a decade was so deafening that he could not stand it. It exploded when he was 19 years old. His secret: Eustasio Sánchez Fonseca, the priest with whom he lived together with his mother in a Christian community in Campo de Caso (Asturias), had also abused her from five to 14 years old. "When I started college in 2002, the memories of the abuses came to me like a flashback, I could not stand it and I told everything. In those moments, you are still assimilating that someone stole your childhood and you have to put everything in order before you can do something, "says VC His mother says that, despite not reporting, he went to ask for help from the Church." I spoke with a priest friend of mine and got him to go talk to Archbishop Carlos Osoro, we wanted Tito not to abuse more children, the archbishop told me he would talk to him, and in a few weeks the priest I asked for advice told me that Tito He denied it, the diocese did nothing and I did not know anything else, "says the mother.
Six years earlier, in 1996, her 11-year-old sister tried to kill herself to escape the terror she felt when Tito, nicknamed Sanchez Fonseca, allegedly assaulted her. In the hospital bed, he confessed to her. mother. He only did it once. "When he told me what was happening, my heart sank, and then he did not open his mouth to the hospital psychologist," says C. R., his mother. Later, and during the proceedings that a judge opened because of a complaint filed by a family member, he did not say anything either, his mother denied it. "I was very afraid, I did not want the custody of the girls to be taken from me and I said that I had invented it." Those were horrible moments, "recounts C. R. In those days, V. C. was not able to tell that Sánchez Fonseca did the same with her. "The case was closed and the incredible thing is that Tito continued to abuse the girls," says the mother.
Osoro, current archbishop and cardinal of Madrid, says he does not remember having met with her and has no record of that case either. "It was 17 years ago and he says he does not hear the name of the priest or the victims," says a spokesman for the Madrid bishopric. In 2002, the canonical norm obliged the bishops to communicate to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the cases of which they were aware and to open an investigation in the ecclesiastical courts. The priest with whom the mother spoke recalls the episode but does not remember if he interceded so that he had an interview with the then prelate of Oviedo.
It was not the last time V.C. He asked for help from the Church. In 2015, after years of therapy and, as she says, with less shame and more courage, she wrote a letter to the current archbishop, Jesus Sanz. In the letter he narrated the same episode that 13 years before his mother took to the bishopric. Months later Sanz received it with the writing in his hand. "He told me it was my word against his. He even told me that he was a very dear priest and very ahead of his time, "says V.C. The archdiocese of Oviedo affirmed a few months ago that it did not open a process as dictated by the canonical code. When you go to church to tell this, you expect them to tell you: 'let's help you' or 'please report this'. But then it seems that, instead of accusing a person, you are attacking the whole Church. It's not like that, "explains V. C.
The affected went to civil justice. He denounced his case, presented psychological reports certifying that he suffered abuse and both Sánchez Fonseca and his sister and connoisseurs came to testify. The accused denied the facts and the judge did not admit that Archbishop Sanz was going to testify. It did not help much, after an appeal, the Provincial Court decreed that the case had prescribed. "They ruled that the law in force at the time of the events had to be applied, in this case the 1995 law, where crimes prescribe 15 years after they were committed and not after reaching the age of majority," he says. "This man is still free, since I filed the complaint and since I left EL PAÍS telling my story nobody from the diocese has tried to contact me," he explains.
The archbishopric insists that the case, "after the declaration of the minors, it was already filed on March 16, 1997 by the prosecutor's office of the Superior Court of Justice of Asturias. " However, the complaint of the nineties only refers to the sister of V. C., the only alleged victim who testified. Nor has there been an investigation, neither canonical nor civil, about this case. In addition, in the new process that was opened in court, the mother and her youngest daughter confessed that they lied because of fear during the proceedings.
The controversial transfer of parish
Known as Tito, Sánchez Fonseca has left a mark in the towns where he has officiated as parish priest. In 2002, the same year in which the mother of the alleged victims met with Osoro, she began to give mass in San Román de Candamo, a town where she received a Senegalese boy in her house. When in 2012 the archbishop decided to move him, according to neighbors and innuendos of Sánchez Fonseca for several complaints from some neighbors, the parishioners took to the streets to protest and take signatures. He started working at Cáritas in Valdesoto and in 2013 he was appointed as a priest in Pola de Siero and Valdesoto until 2018, when he became part of the Pastoral Unit of Pola de Siero. V. tells that during the meeting with Sanz, the archbishop assured him that he had already separated Sánchez Fonseca "for other reasons" and that "a compañero was watching him".