Javier, victim of pedophilia in the minor seminary of La Bañeza (León) in the late eighties, has denounced to the police that the diocese of Astorga and the center where the events occurred They covered for the priest José Manuel Ramos Gordón after, together with his brother and another companion, they reported what had happened to the school management. First they went to the director of the seminary, Gregorio Rodríguez (deceased) and then to the sixth grade tutor, Francisco Javier Redondo (today vicar of Ponferrada). But nothing happened, the abuses continued. Years later, between 1994 and 1995, his father spoke to several priests in the province of León to ask him for help. “Everyone knew it. A priest told him to be careful what he said and another who had to know how to forgive.” Javier has included all the names in the complaint. In total seven priests and one bishop: that of the former director, the current vicar of Ponferrada, that of the then Bishop Antonio Briva (deceased) and that of the priests Prudencio Álvarez, Juan Herminio Rodríguez, Santiago Cadierno (parish priest of Castrocontrigo, León) , Bernardo and Hortensio Velado (both brothers and also deceased).
“The pope says to denounce the police, right? I have followed his advice. I want it to be known who are the people who did nothing and allowed Ramos Gordón, in his day, not to sit on a bench”, The complainant explains to this newspaper. Javier’s case, prescribed in ordinary justice, was reopened by the Vatican in 2015, after the victim wrote to the Pope asking for help. The diocese initiated a canonical process in which the accused acknowledged the facts. The canonical sentence recognizes that all the people indicated by the victim in the current complaint were aware of the abuses. Like abuse, the crime of cover-up has been prescribed.
“I have denounced before the ordinary justice system because that is what I have left. We denounced and asked for help as children. My father spoke to a few priests and received threats. I denounced in Rome and the diocese has mocked me. If someone does not see the injustice and prefers to hide his head underground like ostriches, himself, “argues Javier. In addition to the abuses, Javier denounces that after communicating it to the management in 1989, He suffered physical abuse by several teachers, both in La Bañeza and in the Astorga seminary, the center where he studied BUP. “They made us sleep in the barber shop, without beds. They also told us things like: ‘you have to leave here because you are not worth it. You are stupid,” he says. To his father, he adds, a priest told him that he and his brother “were subnormal, spending and bar men” with the intention that he would not enroll them in school.
In the complaint, he reviews the story that, since 2017, he gave the newspaper for the first time The Opinion of Zamora, newspaper that uncovered the case of child abuse in La Bañeza. At that time, he was hurt because the bishop who sentenced Ramos Gordón, Juan Antonio Menéndez, silenced the sentence (one year of withdrawal) from public opinion and allowed the parish where he officiated, Tábara (Zamora), to pay tribute to him. . Nor did he object to her giving two more Masses while he was serving his sentence.
The news of his episode motivated another victim to denounce Ramos Gordón for abuses in another center in Zamora, the Juan XXIII school. The Vatican reopened the case and sentenced the already accused to a decade of seclusion in a monastery outside the episcopate. Last January, another victim denounced the accused for abuse. As a result of these episodes, three students have denounced another priest from the Astorga diocese, Ángel Sánchez Cao. To the latter, Menéndez, current president of the anti-pedophilia commission of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (EEC), He kept him in contact with children for two years in a parish in Ourense, despite knowing at least two of canonical complaints.
This newspaper has published several hidden conversations where the current bishop shows compassion for the accused and refuses to give financial compensation to the victim. “[Ramos] he is deeply sorry. The truth is that it hurts. I, who am in the priestly house and meet him, because he is a humiliated man. Humiliated and certainly, well, very bad. I also have to take care of him because he is a priest, right? Anyway, “Menéndez commented to a group of former seminarians in 2017.
The bishop’s ruling led the victim to write to Pope Francis again, but received no response. He has also written to several Spanish prelates, including Cardinal Juan José Omella of Barcelona and Cardinal Valladolid and President of the EEC, Ricardo Blázquez. The latter replied with a few words of encouragement, but, according to the complainant, “nothing happened.” A few months ago, he requested both the diocese and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the documents of his canonical procedure, but both entities refused, hiding in the papal secret. On March 14, he met with the president of the EEC to ask him to investigate his case, to punish the cover-ups and, as head of the Spanish ecclesial leadership, to intervene so that the victims receive financial compensation.