The management of the Salesian College of Deusto became aware at the end of 1989 of two cases of abuse that occurred within the institution in the 1980s. This was recognized in a statement in which the Salesian Congregation "reiterates its support for the victims." The institution assumes that the performance of the center "was clearly insufficient" and reiterates its request for forgiveness "for not having acted then with the diligence that the gravity of these cases required. "He also announced that they show their support for the rally that this afternoon the victims of abuses have summoned in the San Pedro de Deusto square.
The school has acknowledged that the time that has elapsed since the events occurred has only increased the pain of the victims. "We can not even imagine the rage that they have suffered during all this time.To the denounced facts, and that we are knowing, they join more than 30 years of sentence in silence, which makes more serious, if possible, the feelings of bitterness and incomprehension, "the statement said.
At the beginning of the year, this newspaper uncovered cases of pedophilia in the center from the 60s to the 1990s. After the publication of the information, seven alleged victims decided to tell their story. This led to more alumni to make public that José María San Martín, whom his students called Don Chemi, had committed abuses throughout his stay in the center, from 1975 to 1990. After leaving the order, the defendant has continued working in camps with minors until very recent dates.
Although the center has admitted that it has been aware of these abuses since 1989, a victim has assured EL PAÍS that Don Chemi abused him in 1975. The mother of the abused on that date went to speak with the director, "who covered the subject ", as this woman assures. To the twenty of denunciations that have already been put against the three salesianos clergymen (gift Chemi, another fellow teacher and the director of that time, Luis Red), the warning is added that another dozen of exalumnos has done that they will go to the authorities to tell their cases.
The communiqué of the center comes after this newspaper published that several alumni have denounced the priest and former director Luis Rojo and another religious.
In the statement, however, the center says it will not "relent in its efforts to continue investigating and acting accordingly." Something that "is a commitment that the Congregation has assumed and will carry out until the end". The school ensures that it is listening to the victims who have addressed them and calls on everyone to contact them, because "they want to listen to them and help them".
The school maintains that it is gathering information, talking with the victims and with different people who 30 years ago were part of the educational community. "We have contacted the Ertzaintza to collaborate in what is demanded in the course of the investigations that they are being carried out. "In addition, the congregation has specified that it will create an external commission to help victims, and that" it will be made up of specialists in law and psychology who will support and advise them. "
Marisol is one of the mothers who, after knowing what happened, went to talk with the school director. "I received a call from AMPA and they told me that a child said that he suffered abuses from Don Chemi and that my son could also be abused," he explains. When she went to school with her husband, the director was "surprised" by the news. The mother says that they went down to Don Chemi's office to talk to him and to give an explanation of what was happening. "At first he denied it, but then tried to justify that it could have been a misunderstanding because his mother had died and needed the affection of the children. He ended up getting plump and asking for forgiveness, "says Marisol.
After the interview, they returned to the office with the director to continue talking. "We asked him to take him away from the classes and he told us he would investigate what happened. We never saw Don Chemi again, "he says. The institution hopes that "the passage of time is not an excuse to leave the denounced facts forgotten." And he appreciates "the courageous step that the victims have taken". In the communiqué, the school cites Pope Francisco: "Looking to the past, what is done to ask for forgiveness and seek to repair the damage caused would never be enough."