Spanish Jesuits admit more than a hundred cases of abuse, but without giving the names of those responsible
In the archives of the Society of Jesus there are 65 religious accused of abuses between 1927 and the present, according to the results of the report presented this Thursday, which details that 17 of the Jesuits identified as responsible for a hundred incidents continue alive. Four of them are no longer part of the order, while the other 13 are removed from their duties while they are being tried, or serving sanctions. The Company has not wanted to make their names public, because the intention, as justified by José María Rodríguez Olaizola, its Secretary of Communication, is not "to carry out a witch hunt, but to contribute to the truth."
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A truth that indicates, after diving into the archives of the company of Jesus in Spain, more than a hundred victims of abuse (sexual and authority), of which 81 were minors. They also found complaints from 37 adults. The report includes that since 2000, 37 cases of abuse have been identified, most of them in educational centers, and six of them with minor victims. It also details the dates on which these abuses were committed, the dates on which they were reported and the measures taken, although the names of the abusers are not given.
"We feel pain, shame, regret. For the injury to so many people, for the mistrust generated, for doing it in a religious environment, which should be a space of protection," the provincial of the Society of Jesus, Antonio Spain, assumed during the appearance , in which the creation of a service of safe environment for all Jesuit centers in the country.
Open to compensate victims
"We want to learn to apologize to the victims and society, for the abuses, for the culture of silence, for not facing the facts directly and fairly. We want to keep in mind the people who suffer this injury and try not to redouble their pain" , defended the Jesuit. "We want to promote a culture of good treatment, so that this does not happen again."
And he pointed out the report as part of a process in which the victims have been listened to, and where the door has been opened - as the Marists of Catalonia already did - to compensation in those cases where abuses have been demonstrated.
In fact, a repair protocol is being worked on in accordance with the legal framework of our country. "In no case do we understand that compensation erases suffering, but we do want to provide an answer wherever possible," adds the report. The Society of Jesus has decided to treat reparations on a case-by-case basis and its objective is moral compensation and help with healing and treatment in cases where it is necessary, as explained.
Olaizola explained that the cases recorded in the report "comprise a very wide range of behaviors, from verbal abuse to inappropriate behavior, touching and in some cases sexual relations, without entering into establishing typologies." In 80% of the cases there is a single complaint. In some cases, the complaints have led to civil trials, canonical proceedings, or internal disciplinary measures. In 17 of the registered cases, knowledge or denunciation of the abuses reached the Society of Jesus when the Jesuit had already died or had left the religious order.
Thanks to the survivors
Regarding abuses against adults, 31 Jesuits were accused of this type of abuse, of which in four cases (12%) there were more than one victim, and in 27 (88%) there is an accusation. In addition, 19 rumors have been collected about which it has not been possible to find specific information that allows a complaint to materialize. On the other hand, 15 Jesuits were accused and exonerated.
"We were not the ones who took these cases, it was the abused people who confronted us with this evil and we must thank them for their courage in taking this step," acknowledged the Jesuit Education Delegate, Antonio Allende. "The answer we want to give you with this appearance is that we believe in what they say. We do not want to focus on the defense of the institution, but on reparation, truth and justice for the victims," he stressed.
In the same vein, Susana Pradera, the person responsible for the safe environment of the Company, stated when presenting the order's internal report. He thanked "all the people who have suffered abuse and have taken the courageous step of reporting, seeking truth and justice." "If they have taken that brave step, we must too," he stressed.
None of those responsible for communicating these data gave further explanations of why the sanctioned or investigated religious are not identified, although they did criticize the approach that the order has had on this issue for a long time. "Approaching this pain is essential to change a reality that has not been wanted to see for a long time," Pradera acknowledged. "We are learning to respond to these people, being now aware of how insufficient intervention, either from ignorance or misunderstanding, sometimes out of fear, has been able to revictimize them and make the victims suffer even more pain," he admitted.
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