The Opus Dei investigates the numeraire priest Manuel Cociña for allegedly abusing an 18-year-old student in the Almonte High School (Seville) between 2002 and 2003. After receiving the complaint against the cleric in August 2018, the order separated Cociña from an Opus center in Granada, where pastoral activities are restricted and contact with minors under 30 is prohibited. The order has stressed that it is not a crime of pedophilia, but against an adult, "reason why it is the victim who has to go to report to justice," said a spokesman.
Digital Religion, The newspaper that uncovered the case this Wednesday, has published part of the canonical interrogation that the order made to the alleged victim (MGC). In it, the complainant assures that in 2010, months before leaving the institution (of which he was a member as a laic numerary), he reported what happened to a regional director of Opus Dei in Madrid. "He advised me: 'Look, do not report this, because I do not know if he did it with a sexual intention or not, this was imprudent, it was the mentality of 15 years ago, for me and for the whole world. another site, do not raise more stories, this will hurt, shut up, pray for him and do not worry, "the newspaper reports, informing that the priest is being investigated for abusing" several students ".
The victim claims that said charge of the work told him that they had sent Cociña to Galicia. The order has stated that, at the moment, it has no record of more victims and that the complainant transferred what happened to a superior nine years ago. Neither has communicated the destinations of Cociña after his stay in Madrid. "Our intention is to know the truth of what happened and take note to prevent these cases in the future, we have given our full support to the complainant," says the congregation, which has added that it will inform the press.
Last December, the order delivered the results of the previous investigation to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and at this time, he says, is waiting for a decision by Rome to begin the canonical trial. "We received a letter from Chile, where the victim now lives, and in the first minute we took precautionary measures and started an investigation, we went to interview the affected person in the Andean country and then we did the same here in Spain with the accused," he said. a spokesman for Opus Dei. If the Vatican decides to continue with the case, the corresponding superior of the order in Spain, through a sentence, will decide if the accused is guilty or innocent. The penalty for this crime ranges from the performance of spiritual exercises to the expulsion of the priest from the clerical state.
In 2004, Cociña left Seville and was appointed rector of the Basilica of San Miguel (Madrid) and consiliario (counselor) of the Brotherhood of Students until 2007, the year he left office due to illness, according to a 2015 bulletin of the said brotherhood . The accused, who in his speeches claims to have lived with the founder of the work, José María Escrivá, has held several important ecclesiastical positions, such as the secretariat of the Academy of Ecclesiastical History in 2003 or the priory of the Granada delegation of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, a position he continues to perform today. This newspaper has tried unsuccessfully to contact the priest.
This is the second known case of abuse that affects Opus Dei. At the end of last year, a teacher from a center of the order in Bizkaia (Colegio Gaztelueta) It was sentenced to 11 years in prison for pedophile. The center continues to defend that the story of the alumnus is lacking.