Madrid (EFE).- The State Attorney General’s Office will demand in the coming days that religious entities and congregations send it data on child abuse given the lack of response from the Episcopal Conference and the “extremely scant information” received from the dioceses.
He addressed them last November and only 29 of the 70 dioceses have responded, as stated this Thursday by the State Attorney General, Álvaro García Ortiz, in the Senate Justice Commission.
García Ortiz recalled that last year he opened a coordination file to monitor cases not prescribed throughout the national territory.
Legal obligation to report abuse of minors, acts constituting a crime
In June, a representative of the Episcopal Conference sent them a letter that reproduced the investigation carried out by the newspaper “El País” on sexual abuse in the Church, but when the Prosecutor’s Office asked the bishops to inform him of the cases of which had knowledge, they replied that they do not send new data, “alleging that the victim assistance offices of each diocese had their own legal personality and that they had no jurisdiction over them.”
Given this response, the Prosecutor’s Office addressed each of the seventy dioceses, also reminding them of their legal obligation to inform the Public Ministry of any fact that could constitute a crime against the sexual freedom of a minor.
But only 29 have responded and with a “model response”, most of them stating that they do not have open cases in canonical processes or referring to what has already been sent to the provincial prosecutor’s offices, García Ortiz has denounced.
As he explained, in view of “the very little information received”, a letter will be sent to the religious entities and congregations referred to in the responses of the Episcopal Conference “to gather data on abuses that the prosecution still lacks.” and about which it has not been informed”.
Along with this investigation, he recalled that the Prosecutor’s Office participates in the commission of experts created by the Ombudsman to prepare a report on the complaints for these sexual assaults, a framework in which they study how to repair the victims in cases in which the facts have prescribed and the authors have died.
This study, he pointed out, will analyze the international and regional references with the main objective of “providing the victims with a platform for listening, recognition and subsequent reparation for the events suffered”.