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Spain drops charges in Priest child sex-abuse case

Source: The Rappler - Mon 16th Feb 2015
Spain drops charges in Priest child sex-abuse case

Spain has dropped charges against 11 of the 12 suspects in the country's biggest ever clerical sex abuse scandal, given that the statute of limitations had expired.

Court papers issued earlier on Monday revealed how the 9 priests and two laymen had been charged with "sexual abuse with penetration, exhibitionism, and concealment of evidence" involving an underage altar boy.

However, the Granada court ruled that their accuser, now aged 25, should have brought a case within 3 years of turning 18.

One of the priests is still charged with the more serious offense of "continued sexual abuse, with the introduction of a bodily member anally and attempt to introduce the penis," according to the ruling of January 26th, where he face a 10 year jail sentence if found guilty.

All 12 were charged last month with sexual abuse or complicity in the abuse of the then 14 year old - between 2004 and 2007.

In terms of the number of suspects, the paedophilia case was the biggest ever involving the Catholic Church in Spain.

The alleged victim claims he was raped and made to perform sex acts with one of the priests at a villa with a swimming pool, while others allegedly took part or turned a blind eye to the acts.

The alleged leader of the group told him he had a promising career as a priest ahead of him and chided him for resisting his advances, he was quoted in the charge sheet as saying.

Pope Francis claimed to have ordered a church investigation into the case after the unidentified man wrote to him, telling him he had been molested as an altar boy.

The Pope told reporters on November 25 that he heard of the case "with great pain, very great pain, but the truth is the truth and we should not hide it."

A second man aged 44 has also accused one of the priests of abuse in the early 1990s.

Pope Francis has taken a zero-tolerance approach to clerical sex abuse since taking over as pope in 2013 from Benedict XVI.

Recommended Reading :

* Spanish Court charges 10 Priests with child sex abuse

* Spain arrests 3 Priests in Granada sexual abuse ring

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