The Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) has created a reserved commission to update the protocols of action against cases of sexual abuse committed within it and to launch a new regulation to tackle these aggressions. This group, composed of a dozen experts and chaired by the Bishop of Astorga, Juan Antonio Menéndez, is formed three months before the meeting that the Pope has convened with all the presidents of the episcopal conferences of the world to discuss the scandal of the abuses and adopt measures to eradicate them. The diocese of the president of the commission is one of only three dioceses (there are 70) where it is obligatory for the bishops to denounce the cases before the prosecution.
The first protocols were published in 2010 and, so far, have not been updated, as this newspaper has published in recent days, in whose information has been noted the silence and the cover that the Spanish Catholic Church has tended on cases of abuse sexual acts by religious for decades.
The protocol of the diocese of Astorga, published this year, is the most extensive and that, unlike that of the EEC, makes an explicit reference on how a bishop or cleric should act when he knows that a case may be committed. pederasty. While in the text published by the Conference the religious must "invite" the family to report the case to the authorities, in Astorga the bishop must inform the Prosecutor's Office.
Bishop Menéndez, a Law graduate, is known for having instructed in 2017 the controversial case of sexual abuse in the minor seminary of La Bañeza (León). After the ecclesiastical process, Menendez punished the priest José Manuel Ramos to be a year without performing pastoral activities for having abused four children at the end of the nineties. The process and the ruling were carried out in silence and the bishop allowed, once the sentence was finalized, that the parish where Ramos (Tábara) exercised dismissed the priest with a tribute. The complainant, not satisfied with the sentence, denounced the case before the media, which led another victim to report the priest for abuses at the end of the eighties in a school in Zamora. In this case, the diocese and the Vatican punished the priest with exile for 10 years to a convent outside Astorga.
Several victims, including Javier, the first complainant of Father Ramos, say they are offended that Menéndez is now chairing this group and that the CCE does not have the presence of those affected in the commission. "Any protocol of action for cases of sexual abuse of minors that does not count in their commissions of creation or update with the voice of the victims is nothing more than a piece of paper," a father of a victim of sexual abuse in Facebook wrote on Facebook. Church after the news. "It is time for the Spanish ecclesiastical hierarchy to do the backward duties and start treating all the victims with the respect they deserve," says the father.
Judges and prosecutors asked on Monday for changes in legislation that, if made, would force the Church to report cases of pedophilia of which it has knowledge, something that did not happen now, at least not among the victims of legal age Encourages to denounce for themselves. In the case of minors, since 2015 the law obliges to bring it to justice. Whether the Church has complied with it or is not yet unknown.