A Cistercian monk from Catalunya has been arrested over the inappropriate sexual touching of a child.
The monk, 68, is part of a thirty-strong community at the Royal Monastery of Poblet situated at the foot of the Prades mountains in Tarragona Province.
He was detained on Wednesday (August 25) by the Mossos d’Esquadra over an incident that occurred ten days earlier.
It’s the first time that a sexual abuse allegation has publically involved the Poblet Cistercian community.
It’s one of the oldest Cistercian orders in Europe dating back to the monastery’s foundation in 1151.
The Poblet abbot, Octavi Vila, has launched an internal investigation and banned the accused monk from doing any pastoral work or leaving the monastery.
Vila has also reported the matter to the Vatican.
The abbot said that he was co-operating fully with authorities to find out what happened.
He added that he would not identify the accused monk since he had the right to the presumption of innocence unless he is found guilty.
No details about the child or what is alleged to have happened have been made public.
A statement from the Poblet community said: “We show our solidarity and support to anybody who feels affected by these events especially the child’s family.”
“This situation deeply hurts us and we strongly express our willingness and commitment to fight all abuses in the church,” the statement added.
“We must always be a safe place for children and younger people.”