The Bishop of Salamanca held three years, between 2011 and 2014, Isidro López Santos, a priest canonically denounced for child abuse in 2011, who had already confessed his guilt and against whom the Vatican had ordered twice to act in a prudent manner until the sentence of the ecclesiastical process. But Bishop Carlos López did nothing, only retired after a year and a half, to place him in another parish as an assistant to a priest friend of his where he continued with his work and in contact with minors. It was the parish of The Annunciation-San Mateo, and his blog shows that during those two years, until he was convicted, he served as a priest for all purposes. It's more, in May 2013 he appears in a photograph concelebrating a confirmation with the bishop himself of Salamanca, who therefore could not ignore that he continued with his activity. The priest is seen in Celebrations, communions, christenings, anoints of the sick, and even receiving the Magi with the children of the neighborhood. There are at least a dozen dates documented with photos in the period in which he was supposed to be removed. The bishopric of Salamanca has refused to answer the questions on this case.
The Vatican ruling came in May 2014 and it was a condemnation that forbade this priest to minister, wear the habit and contact with children. In the previous decades several denunciations had already arrived against him, but all were ignored for not judging themselves "credible", the Vatican recognized in the resolution. It was in the stages of the bishops Mauro Rubio, now deceased; Braulio Rodríguez, today archbishop of Toledo; and the current one, Carlos López.
In the process at least three victims, located by this newspaper, reported abuses of 1982 in the mid-nineties, already prescribed then, in the parish of San Julián. The sentence, to which EL PAÍS had access by means of the recording of the reading of the document, reveals the dates of the process, which was ordered to the bishop and shows that, on the contrary, he did not take any special measures. Moreover, Javier Paz, the victim who opened the process with his complaint of 2011 is convinced that in reality the bishopric did not undertake any process and simply tried to buy time.
On the morning of this Friday, he presented a letter to the Bishopric of Salamanca asking him to hand over the documentation of his file and to denounce the inaction of the diocese. "I only spoke with the bishop alone several times, and they did not take my statement, nor were there notaries or anything. I want to know if they have followed the legal channels and if not, take the appropriate measures, "he explains, denouncing that" there is a helplessness towards the victims, a lack of education and respect towards them. "" The silence they keep until today it is accomplice and painful, "he concluded.
The denunciation of Javier Paz, one of the first victims in Spain to appear in the media, is February 2011. On September 1 of that year, as summarized in the final sentence, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith already referred to the bishop an office to request the beginning of the preliminary investigation "and the application to the accused of the appropriate precautionary measures, according to canon 1722". This article says that, "in order to avoid scandals, to defend the freedom of witnesses and to guarantee the course of justice, the ordinary one, after hearing the promoter of justice and having cited the defendant, to separate the accused, at any stage of the process , the exercise of the sacred ministry. "But the diocese did nothing, the investigation began, and on November 7, 2011, according to the sentence, the bishop interrogated the accused, who had already made" a partial confession with a brief. " In the case, Paz affirms that he confessed a few days after his denunciation, as the bishop told him, and "several testimonies corroborated" the accusations, but the head of the diocese continued to do nothing.
One year passed and on October 19, 2012, the sentence continues, the Vatican "authorized the bishop to initiate a criminal administrative process in charge of the cleric, not without previously having offered him the possibility of requesting dispensation from the priesthood obligations, including that of the priest. celibacy". Moreover, the Holy See "asked the bishop to apply all those precautionary measures that were deemed necessary and thus communicate them as soon as possible to the dicastery". What Carlos López did was to suggest to the defendant that he retire, so as not to have to throw him out and save appearances, as he told Javier Paz in a recorded conversation to which this newspaper has had access. The priest, Isidro López, withdrew and was removed, but only apparently. In fact he moved to the parish of the Annunciation-San Mateo and there he continued his usual work, as assistant to the owner.
The blog that collects the activity of this parish shows that during those two years, until he was convicted, he served as a priest for all purposes. Meanwhile, psychological expertise, says the sentence, "detected serious problems in the interpsychic structure of the accused, consistent with the commission of crimes." But Isidro López remained a priest.
By then, in the summer of 2013, Javier Paz joined two other victims. It was when he learned the mother of one of them, who suffered abuse from 10 to 18 years. This woman then began to call the bishop to talk to him. "But he did not pay any attention to me, until one day I showed up there and the secretary did not even let me pass the door, a very rude man. He treated me fatally and told me: 'The bishop has nothing to talk to you about.' This woman decided that she would not surrender and wrote a letter to the Vatican, which answered that she would open an investigation. And a few days later the bishop finally called her. In fact, according to the sentence, it was because they ordered it from Rome: "On September 11, 2013 and at the request of this dicastery the bishop found one of the main witnesses of the process, the mother of the main victim." The terminology is curious, because the son of this woman had just joined the process, but the Vatican considered him "the main victim". It is so striking that in the recording of the reading of the sentence the cleric is forced to interrupt to say that it is a mistake: "Here they have messed with people." For Javier Paz, more than a Vatican error in such a serious issue, it is a further indication that the data does not fit. He suspects that his trial did not really open until the mother of another victim jumped into the bishopric and wrote directly to the Vatican.
The mother of the third victim of Isidro López located by this newspaper remembers the radical change that her son struck when he began to go, with ten years, to spend the afternoons in the parish of San Julián with Isidro López. Some places with ping pong tables and games. "It was not him anymore, he was very happy and he became introverted, for years he was a stranger to us. And I have the thorn that I encouraged him to go, I put him in the cave of the wolf, "he laments. When I went to look for him I found him watching TV with the priest on a table stretcher, covered by the tablecloth. Lopez used to repeat a phrase that she did not like at all: "This child is going to be a saint or a devil".
When he was eleven years old, the boy started to get bad grades and behave badly. His mother warned him that if he continued like this he would not go to the camp: "He stopped almost all of them so he would not go, but the priest showed up at home to convince us to leave him, and in the end he went." This woman is sure that her son was not the only one who went through that: "From her generation very few will have been spared." He did not recognize his son until 2013: "When he denounced and I found out, he told me about it and gave me a hug that I had been waiting for 20 years".
This woman has a terrible memory of that meeting with the bishop, Carlos López: "It was a coffee talk, I avoided the subject. It all boiled down to having to pray for Don Isidro, the priest. That and that the bishop's back hurt. A shame". But his surprise was greater when he discovered that the priest was continuing his usual life in the parish of The Annunciation-San Mateo. So in February 2014 he wrote again to the Vatican. In the letter he said: "It seems totally amoral to me that this person continue to be in contact with young people and children, administering sacraments and celebrating the Eucharist as if nothing had happened (…) It seems to me that all this is extending too much in time, since I think there is more than clear evidence that this man is guilty of a crime of pedophilia committed on dozens and dozens of children (…) I always believed that this man would be separated from his ministry and, by chance, I find out that he continues saying Sunday Mass in the parish of the Annunciation. "
Finally the sentence arrived and in August of 2014 the bishopric made the sentence public, but only announced that Isidro López was forbidden to exercise his ministry. Silenced the rest of the sentence and his blunt words, and also that there were several victims. Javier Paz, who had already denounced what happened in public, seemed the only victim. Even today he is claiming a copy of the sentence.
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