Supreme Court of Spain sentenced a former Christian priest to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing seven minors at a Catholic boarding school nearly a decade ago when he worked as their tutor. In recent months in Spain, years after similar scandals rocked the Church in other countries such as the United States, Ireland and France, allegations of child abuse by Catholic clergy and possible cover-ups have surfaced.
In its ruling, the court said he had taken advantage of his position to inappropriately touch the boys' genitals, for instance, while pretending to be playing in a swimming pool or in private rooms under the pretext of medical "treatment". The court ruled the touching was "of clearly sexual character". It also ordered the man to pay a fine of 52,920 euros and compensation of 2,000 euros to each of the victims.
El Pais newspaper reported more than 1,200 alleged cases of abuse by clergy spanning seven decades, and parliament subsequently tasked the country's ombudsman with carrying out an investigation. The ombudsman, Angel Gabilondo, said in a statement on Tuesday that his office had already assisted 201 victims, mostly men, in the first two months of the probe, whose conclusions will be presented to Parliament.