More than 70 years later, Leopoldo Martín, an 80-year-old from Madrid, still remembers the three pesetas that condemned him to live a year in a vallisoletano priest's school that would mark him forever: sexual abuse, physical abuse and, due to poor diet , a disease – lathyrism – that caused a pronounced limp for life. At that time, mid-forties, the poverty in which he lived with his widowed mother and five children led Martin to live in a boarding school in Madrid. "I entered with seven years. I was the one who took care of making the bed every morning for the assistant. " One day, he says, they beat him up because three pesetas had disappeared from that room. "They put the purple body on me and said: 'Leopoldo, if tomorrow the three pesetas do not appear, we'll kill you'. I escaped, with such bad luck that they caught me and, as punishment, they sent me to a boarding school in Valladolid. "
Martín says that just after arriving at that school, about 30 kilometers from Valladolid, began to work in the fields "of the priests", they fixed the roads and the roads. "We were slaves. They killed us with hunger. There was everything there, but they gave us the leftovers, almortas and carob, just as they threw the pigs, "he says. The first abuses also began. "There were some corridors where we were placed naked and in line to bathe, the priests washed you with their hands, they touched you all over your body and gave you smacks in the ass," says the octogenarian with impotence.
The sexual abuse they increased in a short time, they became aggressions. "One day we went with a priest to a place they called El Soto. The priest put on his cassock, put a five-cent coin in its parts and told us to take it with his mouth. Then I would grab you by the head and bring it close to him, "he explains. The cleric, he says, always did it to him and to two other companions. At the time he was there, he did it three times. They asked for help from another young priest. "We went to confess with him to tell him and he said: 'It's impossible that happened.' He went to talk to the director and at the time they took him [al abusador] as punishment to a school in Valladolid. Nothing happened at all. That was hidden, "he says pissed off.
It was not the last time he tried to report the case. When his illness worsened, he entered the provincial hospital of Valladolid and there he told his mother. "He took me by the hand and we went to school to talk to the priests. When we arrived, they told my mother: 'Either you shut up or we beat you up.' That is as true as I have to die ", exclaims Martin, who also says that with the arrival of democracy went to seek justice at Ombudsman.
The experience that year not only conditioned the rest of Martin's life, also that of his wife and two daughters. "Somehow, the burden of what had happened to him was floating in our life, what they did to him has made him a certain way and that, perhaps, that has made us not have had a proper childhood to form ourselves as people, "says Yolanda Martín, Martín's oldest daughter, who has never hidden from anyone the physical and sexual abuse she suffered, which led her youngest daughter, a lawyer, to try to find those responsible at the beginning of the year. The nineties "I tried to find archives in the diocese, tests and the truth is that it has been quite complicated." I looked for information about the priests who had been there, their names and surnames, they spoke with the Church, but nothing was achieved. says Nuria Martín, who thinks that the church He should acknowledge the damage done and ask for forgiveness, as he believes it is a way for victims to live, at least, in peace. "I hope all the crap of the Catholic Church comes out. The damage they have done, "the victim asks.
After leaving the hospital, Martín returned to Madrid. For him, hell was over, but the memories were not erased. "He's always here, he's always in my mind," he exclaims as he touches his forehead several times. The harshness of the forties had not disappeared and he returned to the same boarding school from which he tried to escape. As soon as he entered the door, they told him that the three pesetas he had run away from appeared shortly afterwards in the pocket of a pair of trousers that the assistant had taken to the dye. "Those three pesetas …" he murmurs. "I always remember those three pesetas."
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