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Spain: Victims of clergy abuse hope for signs to end impunity | world news

By ARITZ PARRA, Associated Press

MADRID (AP) — After decades of neglect, victims of sexual abuse by Spanish clergy say they are finally seeing momentum building in their quest for real accountability and reparations.

On Tuesday, Spanish lawmakers took the first step towards opening a parliamentary inquiry into the matter, a move victims hail as potentially game-changing.

Prosecutors are also stepping up their efforts to investigate existing and new allegations. And Spain’s left-to-center government is weighing whether to support the parliamentary inquiry or launch another independent effort.

“It seems that public institutions have finally understood that the rape of children is of general interest, a serious violation of human rights and that the State must intervene,” said Miguel Hurtado, who campaigns against the impunity since revealing his own story. abused in a monastery in northeastern Spain.

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“We can’t say we’re happy until we see results, but it’s a very promising moment for those of us who have been fighting to get noticed for years,” Fernando said. García Salmones, spokesperson for the Robbed Childhood association of victims of sexual abuse.

García Salmones, who is among the few victims to have been compensated by a religious order, said the question was no longer whether Spain should investigate the abuse. The debate, he said, has shifted: “Now it’s more about how to do it and who should do it.”

The accumulation of different initiatives comes after Spain’s main newspaper, El País, documented at least 611 cases of abuse perpetrated by priests, members of religious orders and people working for them over several decades, involving at least 1,246 casualties.

In late December, the newspaper shared a list including some of the abuses it had found with Pope Francis, who tried to raise awareness in the church about the problem of clergy abuse and passed laws to hold the hierarchy accountable for the cover-up. .

The Vatican has not publicly responded to the El País reports or the database. He previously commented after independent reports produced their findings.

But Spanish media reported that the pope raised the matter during a meeting last month with emissaries from the Spanish Episcopal Conference.

The body representing bishops across Spain has rejected the opening of a full investigation and is instead encouraging victims to come forward and report their allegations to the offices it has set up in each of the dioceses in the country. country.

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