THREE Granada priests involved in claims of paedophilia were arrested on Monday and more are under investigation after a possible victim wrote to Pope Francis.
The priests in question are the supposed leader of the group, Father Roman V; Francisco J. M., who has been taking over leadership from Roman in recent years; and Manuel M.
A fourth person believed to be a layperson has also been arrested.
Investigations are focused on a parish in the city’s Zaidin neighbourhood. There, the priests reportedly convinced young boys that sex with them would not be a sin, say sources quoted by El Pais.
It has been alleged that the group of 10 priests and two lay people lured youngsters in as altar boys or assistants and later took them to luxury apartments or a house in Granada owned by the group, where they were subjected to brutal abuse.
A source who had been close to the group said: “They are a group of friends who are something like a family, and are very supportive of one another.
“If it is a cover then it is a very successful one because their shared life was very open to members of the community and visitors.”
The source confirmed that some of the priests shared a house but it was ‘where they would share meals after Sunday Mass and then spend some leisurely time together on Mondays, which was their day off’.
He said: “Quite rightly any accusation of this kind has to be investigated thoroughly but at the same time we have to remember that these people are innocent until proven guilty.”
According to religious news website Religion Digital, the group is known as Los Romanones, a reference to their supposed leader.
The group’s activities came under scrutiny after a 24-year-old teacher, who supposedly suffered abuse between the ages of 13 and 17, wrote to the Pope after his story was shunned by Granada’s archdiocese.