April 16, 2021

The City Council of Bilbao urges that the abuses be investigated in the Salesians of Deusto | Society

The City Council of Bilbao urges that the abuses be investigated in the Salesians of Deusto | Society

All the political groups with representation in the City Council of Bilbao have asked on Monday that "the competent institutions and agencies" carry out the pertinent investigations before the reports of sexual abuse and mistreatment that eight alumni of the Salesian College of Deusto (Bilbao) presented last week against the exreligious José Miguel San Martín, known as "Don Chemi", during the eighties. The declaration, signed by the spokesmen of PNV, EHBILDU, PSE, PP, UDALBERRI and GOAZEN, comes after THE COUNTRY uncovered a dozen cases of pedophilia in the educational center, what took this Saturday to the order to ask for forgiveness for possible crimes and for "not having detected them". The complaints refer to touching, kissing, rape and physical abuse of children between eight and 10 years old, both in school facilities and in camps organized by the same.

The Ertzaintza moved last Friday eight complaints to the court of guard (six of pederasty and two of abuse) against San Martin. The crimes, committed between 1978 and 1988, have prescribed. The defendant, who remained in the order between 1975 and 1990, denied the facts to this newspaper, but confessed that in the past he could have done "something" that has been misinterpreted. After his departure from the order in 1990, San Martín continued working in camps and outdoor activities with minors.

Through a note, political groups have publicly condemned this type of crime against minors and have transferred their support to those affected. "The City Council of Bilbao makes available to all victims, the existing municipal resources, offering them the attention that corresponds and applying the protocols of action provided for these assumptions," reads the document. The director of the center, Josean Prol, said this weekend in an interview with Radio Euskadi that "a couple of whistleblowers" contacted the school. Nonetheless, the alumni who have spoken with this newspaper affirm that they have not had any encounter with the Salesians.

The complainant group has celebrated the declaration of the municipal government, especially the initiative to investigate the accused. "Our crimes may have been prescribed, but Don Chemi has continued to make camps and has been in contact with minors. It is possible that there are more victims and this is the way to get more cases to light, "he told EL PAÍS Julio, one of the alumni. The group of victims who have already denounced believes that "the more that is spread, the more abused they will take a step forward to tell their story".

The Order of the Salesian Brothers assured this Saturday that on January 25 he contacted the accused, who abandoned the order in 1990, to inform him that he had opened an investigation. At the moment, the congregation assures that it has not found any evidence of a crime and denies that during those years a complaint or oral complaint was filed against "Don Chemi". Two of the former students affirm that, after the abuses, the association of parents of the school went to speak with the director, who "threw ground on the subject".


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