SPAIN’S ombudsman, Angel Gabilondo, says an independent commission set up a year ago to investigate historic sex abuse by the Catholic church has collected statements from 445 victims.

Congress voted on March 10, 2022 to open the first official investigation into the extent of sexual abuse committed by priests and church officials.

The government acted after allegations of abuse involving more than 1,200 victims were published in the El Pais newspaper.

Testimonies were still being collected and a report would be presented to Congress later this year.

Gabilondo said he had written to the country’s 70 Catholic dioceses asking for information and their cooperation, but admitted that so far, the response has been minimal.

He nevertheless remained hopeful, saying: “Everything is in a process that allows me to believe that the Church will collaborate, but it must be shown that now it is time for the facts to come out into the open.”

“In all honesty, Congress and Spanish society will know what the level of collaboration of the Catholic Church has been,” Gabilondo insisted.

He added that he would make it clear the number of bishops that have and have not helped the inquiry.

A Madrid-based law firm is conducting a parallel investigation on behalf of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, which for years rejected the idea of taking a comprehensive approach to investigating sex abuse.


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