Cross in the square of the church of San Martín, in Callosa de Segura, Spain. / Credit: Citizen Platform in Defense of the Cross

ACI Prensa Staff, Jun 9, 2023 / 15:40 pm (CNA).

The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) has announced it has hired a law firm and a specialized association to clarify the alleged cases of abuse that occurred in its schools in Catalonia, Spain, and to accompany the complainants.

The Jesuit delegate in Catalonia, Enric Puiggròs, has announced that the congregation has taken action in relation to the alleged cases of sexual abuse that may have been perpetrated in schools.

In order to clarify the allegations, determine how they were handled, and identify those responsible for what reportedly took place, the Roca Junyent law firm has been hired.

For the pastoral care and accompaniment of the alleged victims, the Jesuits have turned to the Association for Mediation, Encounter, and Listening (AMEE), an organization that specializes in this area and that facilitates restorative justice processes.

In a statement, the Jesuits noted that “with this initiative we want to respond to all those victims for whom it is difficult to turn to the institution where they suffered these abuses.”

The Society of Jesus has also made itself available to the region’s Ombudsman for Grievances to “verify this process and the planned actions and explore ways of collaboration.”

The congregation founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola has faced various complaints of abuse in Catalonia since 2018.

“The appearance of new complaints and the fact that not all the victims turn to the institution shows that the steps taken are not enough, which is why these new external actions are now being undertaken” related to these cases, the order explained.

The Jesuits also pointed to the work that has been carried out for years in the schools of their network in Catalonia, which proceed “in accordance with the action protocols” of the regional government.

“All these actions are included in the program called Safe Environment in which we have the collaboration and advice of the Vicki Bernadet Foundation,” the Jesuits said in a statement.

‘To shed light’

Last week the Spanish Bishops’ Conference presented the report “To shed light,” which compiled 927 complaints of alleged sexual abuse of minors under 18 years of age or vulnerable people reportedly committed in Spain between 1945 and 2022.

The report does not include situations involving abuse of conscience and power or committed against adults.

Those responsible for the study stress that there may be duplicate cases and that their inclusion in the report is done “without presuming or proving innocence or guilt.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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