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CRIME

Vatican to probe 251 paedophilia cases in Spanish church: report

A Spanish newspaper investigation that found 251 alleged paedophiles inside the country's Catholic church has been sent to the Vatican which has opened an internal inquiry, media reported Sunday.

priest repents
Since 2001, the Vatican has already received 220 sexual assault complaints. Photo: Valentine Chapuis/AFP

“The church has opened a major investigation, unprecedented in Spain, into 251 members of the clergy and a number of lay organisations accused of sexually assaulting minors which this newspaper has been investigating for three years,” El Pais wrote.

The accusations and witness testimonies stretching from 1943 to 2018 were detailed in a report handed to the pope on December 2, said the daily, which has begun to publish the first anonymised accounts on its website.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which is responsible for investigating such allegations, was unable to confirm the opening of investigations to AFP Sunday.

The Spanish Episcopal Conference “reiterates its commitment and willingness to undertake an investigation into all cases of abuse” and “encourages all victims to submit their complaints”, the organisation said in a statement Sunday.

Since 2001, the Vatican has already received 220 sexual assault complaints, a spokesperson for the Spanish Episcopal Conference told AFP.

READ ALSO: ‘No desire for truth’ in Spain’s Catholic church over child sex abuse

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CRIME

Spanish mother jailed for falsely accusing ex-husband of child abuse

A Spanish court has jailed a woman for five years for repeatedly filing false reports about her ex-husband sexually abusing their daughter.

Spanish mother jailed for falsely accusing ex-husband of child abuse

According to El Mundo daily, the sentence was unprecedented in Spain.

In a ruling handed down by a court in the southern city of Granada which was seen by AFP on Wednesday, the unnamed woman was convicted of filing false allegations, offences against moral integrity and abandonment of parental responsibility.

She was also ordered to pay €40,000 ($42,000) each to the child and her father for the harm caused by her unfounded allegations, which were aimed at securing sole custody of her daughter, now nine.

The court also took away the mother’s parental responsibility for 10 years on grounds she posed “a threat to (her daughter’s) development”, according to court documents dated Monday.

The woman had filed eight reports to the police and the courts over a two-year period, accusing her husband of abuse and on one occasion rape as they were in the throes of getting divorced.

She also took her daughter to be examined by doctors and psychologists on 10 separate occasions.

None of them ever found any evidence of the alleged abuse.

The ongoing gynaecological and psychological examinations had an impact on the child’s “psychological stability and her performance at school”, according to the court documents.

The aim was to “obtain the sole and exclusive custody” of their daughter.

The sentence, which can be appealed, described the mother as a person with a predisposition for “lying” who displayed “shameless cynicism” and “cunning malice with obsessive overtones”.

The couple married in 2010 and had a daughter in 2012. But they split up in 2017 and the problems began a year later when the father, an English teacher, requested joint custody.

After his ex-wife began filing the false allegations against him, he lost most of his students along with his “emotion stability, peace of mind and sense of calm”, the court found.

“It’s like being buried alive,” he told El Mundo.

“It’s trying to kill someone without laying a finger on them… accusing them of the vilest, worst thing that a human being can do: harming your own daughter.”

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