March 8, 2021

The victims accuse the NGO of hiring De Santos for “ideological affinity” despite his sexual background


The two alleged victims of Rodrigo de Santos accuse Horizontes Abierta-Padre Garralda as a subsidiary civil responsible for the sexual abuse committed by the former politician when he was working as the person in charge of the shelter project of this NGO. In their indictment briefs, they note that the NGO ignored the warnings of its own workers against De Santos, subsequently attempted to boycott the investigation and even disposed of compromising documentation.

The prosecutor asks 20 years for the former PP politician Rodrigo de Santos for sexually assaulting two men in an NGO

The prosecutor asks 20 years for the former PP politician Rodrigo de Santos for sexually assaulting two men in an NGO

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The legal representation of one of the inmates attacked by De Santos assures in his indictment that the NGO knew the antecedents of sexual abuse of minors of the former deputy mayor of Palma with the PP and that even so he decided to hire him for “ideological affinity “.

The responsibility of the position that the NGO gave to De Santos is the key in sexual abuse. The former PP politician allegedly threatened the two young men with informing Penitentiary Institutions against their permits if they did not have sexual relations with him. Rodrigo de Santos had arrived in Open Horizons in 2014 after having served five years in prison for abusing his children’s friends and having spent 50,000 euros of public funds on drugs and male prostitution. After six months, the NGO, governed by a Board of PP politicians, made him his first contract and in 2016 put him in charge of two shelters for prisoners who have nowhere to go.

Benjamin’s lawyer (assumed name) asks in his indictment for 94 years in prison for Rodrigo de Santos for seven violations of his client with the aggravating factor of recidivism. He also asks that, if he is declared insolvent, it is the NGO that takes charge of the 70,000 euros of compensation that he claims from Rodrigo de Santos. The other victim, Rachid (name also assumed), requests 15 years in prison for De Santos, at the rate of 7 and a half for each of the two sexual assaults against him. The prosecution claims 20 years in jail for a continued sexual assault against Benjamin and another against Rachid.

The NGO founded by Father Garralda, who was retired from the front line at the time of the events and died in 2018, is run by a Board of Trustees linked to the Popular Party. At the time of the events, its president was Lola Navarro, current deputy of the Madrid Assembly for the PP and former councilor of the Madrid City Council with Ana Botella. Among the members of that Board of Trustees were three former councilors of the Government of Esperanza Aguirre, Luis Peral, Regina Plañiol and Beatriz Elorriaga, who served as vice president. The former Secretary of State for Commerce Jaime García Legaz was also a member of the Board of Trustees, who left it due to the management of the De Santos case by President Navarro and who later returned to it.

The legal representation sets out nine reasons why the NGO must respond civilly for De Santos’ crimes. According to the testimonies collected during the investigation, the victim accuses Open Horizons of “having decided, voluntarily and consciously, not to ask (De Santos) for an affidavit of the absence of a criminal record of a sexual nature to avoid having to reject his hiring , despite having demanded it from the rest of the workers and volunteers “.

When he arrived at the NGO, Rodrigo de Santos was no stranger. His case had been picked up by all the media in the Balearic Islands and the rest of Spain. An ultra-Catholic militant, father of five and deputy mayor who refused to marry gays, Rodrigo de Santos had been sentenced to 13 years in prison for, among other crimes, taking advantage of the fact that two friends of his children, who belong to the Neocatechumenal Way (the Kikos), slept at home to sexually abuse them. A unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court, drawn up by the ultra-conservative magistrate Adolfo Prego, lowered the sentence by eight years because, among other arguments, it considered that the lack of consent of the 14-year-old boy with whom he had full sexual relations was not proven.

It was the “ideological affinity” of the NGO that earned De Santos a position when he was supposedly rebuilding his life after spending five years in jail, according to the indictment, “contravening the duty of due diligence in hiring for this type of means”. Once at the NGO, its managers had reason to be suspicious of Rodrigo de Santos, but they ignored them.

A member of the Workers’ Committee sent them several letters “questioning the behavior of the accused,” the private accusation states in its letter. Even in November 2016, just four months before the alleged abuses of the two inmates on leave began, the Workers’ Committee expressly requested in writing that Rodrigo de Sanos be removed to a position “with no direct relationship with the users given his attitude towards them “. Several of the users of the foster homes complained personally, but it didn’t help either.

Far from attending to the signs of his behavior, the NGO tried to erase them. The direct superior of the accused, Vicente Zafrilla, wrote to the Victoria Kent Social Insertion Center “minimizing the facts and calling the statements made by the victims a false report” at the police headquarters. These statements prompted an intense investigation by the Police Family and Minors Unit (UFAM) that led to the arrest and indictment of Rodrigo de Santos.

According to coinciding testimony of two fellows who passed through Open Horizons at that time, the NGO got rid of the “incident record” of the two shelters where the abuses occurred once the inmates reported it. Those incident records ended up in the hands of Rodrigo de Santos when he was already being investigated.

The NGO tried to appear as a private prosecutor two years after the arrest of Rodrigo de Santos, which the magistrate Juan José Escalonilla rejected. And she did so despite the fact that the lawyer from Horizons Abierta spent more than a year combining her services to the NGO with the defense of De Santos’ cause. It so happens that recently the defendant has reported that the lawyer Pedro Horrach, a former anti-corruption prosecutor, popular for his role in the Nóos case, has joined his defense and that he now combines his own office in Palma with the management of the department of Criminal Law of the Madrid office of the American law firm Crowe.

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