All political groups in the Foral Parliament, with the exception of Navarre-Suma – UPN, PP and Ciudadanos – have registered a groundbreaking bill in Spain to recognize victims of sexual violence in the Catholic Church, which, although it must go through a parliamentary process. , has the right to vote. In fact, this standard stands out at the national level for several reasons. On the one hand, he does not follow the example of Congress and decided to create a commission of experts to investigate abuses. On the other hand, it has the support of victims’ associations, which are satisfied, as this will allow them to achieve the “long-awaited” public recognition. The only political group not to sign it, Navarra Suma, said its decision was unrelated to the content of the proposal, which needs to be examined now.
Contrary to what was proposed at the national level, Navarre did not take seriously the possibility of creating either a parliamentary commission of inquiry or a commission led by an ombudsman. It was decided to set up an expert commission to recognize or not recognize the applicants as victims. According to PSN spokeswoman Virginia Magdaleno, “We don’t want this commission to be a political show, and so we’ve decided not to be on it.”
However, the members of the commission must submit to the regional parliament an annual report on the results of their investigations, which will be limited to crimes committed in the territory of Navarre. In addition, as explained by Minister of Justice and Immigration Policy Eduardo Santos, who participated in the presentation, the Catholic Church was invited to participate in the commission, although it has not decided whether it will attend or not: “They must determine their participation. Of course, here we are talking about maximum cooperation, maximum respect for the Church as an institution, but also demanding in terms of what the victims ask for.”
That is, if the Church wants to participate, it will be required to comply with the terms of the rule, which refers to “institutional cooperation, support for the victims and participation in clarifying these facts,” the adviser specified. Santos detailed that, for the most part, applicants seek public recognition. In fact, this is the maximum that this law aims for, which does not regulate economic compensation. In this sense, the consultant explained that they were betting that the damage would be compensated for by those who caused it. “In other countries, it is the Catholic Church who has fully reached economic or indemnity agreements with the state. We believe this is a step that the Catholic Church should take in his case.” In any case, economic reparation is still far from the list of aspirations of the victims, who are still seeking recognition of the damage caused, even if it no longer has legal or criminal consequences, since most of these crimes have long been laid down.
Create a collective memory
Unlike what happened in other regions of Spain, Marcos Leyun of the Association of Victims of Pederasty in the Church of Navarre (AVIPIN) was “delighted” that the initiative was moving forward. He took the opportunity to declare the inaction of the commission, coordinated at the national level by the ombudsman: “More than two months have passed, and there is no movement. It’s time for us to start looking into what this commission does.” In this regard, he acknowledged the work of the institutions of Navarre in “creating a collective memory” and publicly recognizing the “public right to the condition of the victim”. The association also has José Luis Pérez, who just over three years ago took a step forward and denounced in SER Navarra that he was sexually abused at a maintenance school in the municipality of Tafalla. Perez once again addressed all those who were abused as children and who have not yet come forward with their testimony. He also pointed out the importance of moral reparation because it is difficult to obtain another type of compensation: “This fiery seal that those of us who have been abused have engraved will always remain within us.”
Navarra was also a pioneer in the development of x-rays of societal pederasty. Since the report prepared by the State University of Navarra was made public in February this year, 71 official complaints have been collected. Leyun notes that this figure can be “multiplied by three or five”. In fact, the findings of this report point in the same direction as they point to the existence of at least 31 sexual aggressors in the Autonomous Community, most of whom abused more than one minor.
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