Sexual abuse
Misc 02/07/2021

Montserrat monk removed for an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor two years ago

The Mossos have delivered a summons to the religious, who is 40 years old and is vice-rector of the sanctuary

3 min
The Abbey of Montserrat in Montserrat in an archive picture

BarcelonaA new case of sexual abuse has shaken the monastery of Montserrat. The monk G.S.V., 40 years old and who entered Montserrat in 2004, when he was 22, has been denounced for sexual abuse of a 17-year-old minor. The facts would have been committed in 2019 and have come to light because the monastery itself has released a statement in which it explains that this Wednesday they received a notification from the Mossos d'Esquadra in which they were informed of the complaint.

There are two procedures open for the case. On the one hand, the judicial, after the Mossos d'Esquadra received the complaint. Police sources have explained that on Tuesday they delivered a judicial summons to the monastery to summon the monk to testify as being investigated. In addition, the abbey of Montserrat has opened in an "immediate" way a previous investigation, foreseen by the canon law, to notify the facts to the Holy See and to determine the canonical and ecclesiastical responsibilities. However, the father abbot, Josep Maria Soler, together with the council of deans of the monastery, have put direct and without waiting for the final resolutions have prohibited the accused, "absolutely", from doing any pastoral activity and maintaining "contact with no type with minors ".

From Montserrat, they have shown "solidarity and support" to the victim and have regretted the "damages" he may have suffered, as well as their "total and absolute" collaboration with the police and judicial authorities to clarify the facts and clarify the responsibilities that may exist. "We want to express our commitment and our determination to fight against all kinds of abuses by applying the rules and protocols provided firmly and decisively", they said in their statement. They have not given more details about the facts, although sources of the abbey have assured that they would not have occurred in Montserrat.

The investigated monk was until now vice-rector of the sanctuary of Montserrat, he was in charge among other things of the pastoral attention to the pilgrims and helped the rector to take charge of the parish. G.S.V. has a degree in political science from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. When he finished his university studies, he entered the monastery, where he also studied theology, and he was currently teaching philosophy at the Facultat Eclesiàstica de Catalunya, part of the Ateneu Universitari Sant Pacià de Barcelona.

Precedents in Montserrat

The new case has nothing to do with those that came to light precisely in 2019, which is when the new denounced facts would have been committed. That year Miguel Hurtado broke his silence and, for the first time, named a monk from Montserrat with names and surnames for a case of sexual abuse. As he explained, the one who would have abused him is the monk Andreu Soler, who was the founder of the Els Nois del Servei movement, for which he was responsible for 40 years, and also said that the monastery had known since 1999 that there was a complaint against him, but hid the facts. As a result of the case, advanced by El Periódico and El País more similar cases came out, always accusing the same monk. The second case was published by ARA a few days later, explaining the story of Ricard Zamora, which opened a new chapter in the scandal of the sexual abuse of Brother Andreu, because it showed that the case denounced by Miguel Hurtado was neither the only one nor the first.

A few months later, the abbey admitted that Brother Andreu was a "sexual predator and pederast" who abused several of the abbey's minors and adolescents for 28 years. Montserrat took ownership of the very harsh report drawn up by a commission of inquiry set up for the case and released six pages of conclusions of the investigation to acknowledge the facts and apologize. But beyond concluding that 12 victims of Brother Andreu had been found for abuse between 1972 and 1999, Montserrat also admitted a second aggressor, who was the head of the Escolania in the 60s. This is, according to ARA, Father Valentí Torra, who would have "admitted guilt and repentance" for "two unique cases of abuse". The judicial course of the two cases is null and void: Brother Andreu died in 2008 and the alleged abuses by Father Valentí Torra, committed 50 years ago, have long since lapsed.

What is notorious are the differences in the way the allegations were dealt with. In the case of Brother Andreu, the commission of inquiry, made up of experts in dealing with sexual abuse, reproached the abbey for having "omitted any kind of action" between 1972 and 1999, which allowed the "predatory" monk to be in contact with minors for 30 years, either to "hide what happened or simply out of ignorance". On the other hand, in the complaint that has been known this Thursday, Montserrat has taken a day to make it public and has already removed the investigated monk from his duties.