The Marianist friar Ángel Manuel Briñas, who was one of the leaders of the Atlético de Madrid youth academy for more than two decades, has admitted EL PAÍS to have sexually abused a minor when he was a Marianist friar in a school in Madrid. The facts, according to the victim, occurred between 1973 and 1975, when Briñas was responsible for sports and scouts of the Marianista Hermanos Amorós School, in the neighborhood of Carabanchel. The educational center and the club have maintained historically a close relationship by which many players of the lower categories of Atlético studied there.
Briñas is now 88 years old, still linked to the order and lives in one of his residences. "They were things that happened then, a little strange … Frankly, I never explained it to me," answered Briñas yesterday when asked about the complaint that Miguel M. H., 59 years old, has made to this newspaper. "It was an accident, just dead the woman I was going to marry and nothing else. It was only once or twice. Thank you that I cut immediately, "he said.
The version of Briñas, a figure revered for his long career and success in front of the athletic school of Atlético, minimizes the abuse inflicted on the victim. A version that contrasts with the detailed testimony that Miguel M. H. has offered to this newspaper during the last two months.
The victim assures that Briñas "touched him in the darkness of the tent, making his way among other companions and the sleeping bag". "Even if we were several, he always went after me. The first time I was paralyzed, incredulous, without understanding what was happening. Then my desire was to look for the farthest position to sleep. " The abuses consisted in caresses for the intimate areas, masturbations and "once, only once I remember, a fellatio". "He never tried to kiss me or hug me … It seemed that his source of pleasure was in my body, not in his."
Miguel M. H. has confirmed that other colleagues were aware of what was happening. "I spoke with one after more than 30 years and he confessed it to me. But then we never said anything. We were not trained to talk about these things, "he says without being able to dispel the suspicion of" what other teachers could know ".
"The abuses went on for three years. I never told my parents, very fearful of God, "says the victim. She remembers that Brinas' pressure ceased when she began to face him. Once it was "in a house of spiritual exercises that the Marianists had in the swamp of Buendía", between the provinces of Guadalajara and Cuenca. "I gave him a dark hand and retreated in silence," he recalls. Again it was in the lagoons of Ruidera. "I fell asleep and took the opportunity to leave the others on the shore and walk away with me in the back seat. I woke up and when I realized what was happening I told him to turn around. It was a clear and at the same time pleading order, but it had an effect, "he recalls.
Ask for forgiveness
The victim called Briñas about a year ago "to try to understand what led her to do what she did". In this conversation, Briñas explained that "he became a friar because his girlfriend had died, with whom he was going to marry, and that this led him to become crazy". "He links everything as if it had happened in a very short time: the death of his girlfriend, becoming a Marianist and abuses. But the truth is that he had been a friar for several years when he started to abuse me and three others went by until he did not stop attacking me, "explains the victim.
In that conversation, the victim offered his forgiveness to Briñas. "It is important that all abuses come to light, that they become aware of what has happened for decades. But for me it is also important to forgive, for him and for me, "he defends.
Briñas says she always had in mind what she had done. "It has been a thorn that I have always been stuck in the soul," he explains. "I was quite calm," he adds, referring to the forgiveness received. Asked why he did not take the initiative before, Briñas' response is: "I did it then, at the same time it happened. I asked him for forgiveness and I told him never to trust adults, "he says, in a version denied by Miguel M. H.
The management of Marianist Brothers Hermanos Amorós showed yesterday its "absolute surprise and stupor" before these events. "We have not had any prior complaint. Our attitude is one of total belligerence against abuses and we would communicate any case to the Office of the Prosecutor, "the school's management said yesterday.