Spanish Catholic Church’s internal child abuse investigation ‘of little use,’ says prosecutor | world news

MADRID (Reuters) – An internal investigation by Spain’s Catholic Church into allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy is “partial” and “of little help”, Spain’s national prosecutor’s office wrote. in a letter to the country’s mediator made available to Reuters.

The Spanish Catholic Church launched investigations at the diocesan level in January after Spanish newspaper El Pais reported in December more than 1,200 cases of alleged abuse between 1943 and 2018.

The revelations came years after sex abuse scandals rocked the Church in countries including the United States, Ireland and France.

In February, the Church said a private law firm, Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo, would oversee and audit its investigations, a decision described as a “smokescreen” by a victims’ association.

The Spanish Bishops’ Conference declined to comment on the prosecutor’s letter when contacted by Reuters.

Political cartoons about world leaders

Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo did not immediately respond to a phone and email request for comment on the letter.

Spanish prosecutors said in February they were investigating 68 cases of alleged sexual abuse of minors by Catholic church personnel in 17 regions, and the country’s ombudsman has also been tasked with leading an investigation by Spanish lawmakers. in March of this year.

“Audits or partial investigations contracted by the Church to private law firms, where victims lack a safe space to recount their experiences and are asked to fill out a form that designates them as ‘affected’, should be discarded and considered insignificant to use,” reads the letter from the prosecutor’s office to the ombudsman, first reported by El Pais.

Spain’s prosecutor’s office said commissions investigating child abuse cases should be independent and that it was essential that national prosecutors participate in the investigation.

He also called for other initiatives to help shed light on the cases and for “non-judicial mechanisms” to listen to victims and help them heal.

The Spanish Catholic Church said in early 2022 that it was deeply saddened by the abuses and would work with authorities and provide transparency, help and redress to victims.

The head of the law firm, Javier Cremades, said in February that the Church must thoroughly investigate the alleged abuses and that his firm was providing a service to both victims and society.

(Reporting by Christina Thykjaer and Emma Pinedo, editing by Aislinn Laing, Alexandra Hudson)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

Comments are closed.