The Madrid public prosecutor has charged a Catholic nun in connection with an ongoing investigation into cases of stolen babies, which allegedly took place in hospitals from the 1950s up until the early 1980s.
She is the first person to be indicted in the investigation, which has gained international attention.
Sister María Gómez Valbuena was subpoenaed to testify before investigators recently but refused to answer questions, according to sources at the prosecutor’s office. Her name has surfaced in dozens of complaints filed by mothers who claim they were robbed of their babies after giving birth at San Ramón and Santa Cristina hospitals in Madrid.
Sister María was the assistant to Dr Eduardo Vela Vela, whose name also appears in the complaints filed by mothers.
Prosecutors have decided that there is sufficient evidence to file charges against Sister María in one case, based on a woman’s testimony that her daughter was taken from her in 1982 after she gave birth at the Santa Cristina Hospital. The woman, identified as María Luisa, states that she was told that her baby had died at birth but claims she was actually given to another family.
Shortly after giving birth, María Luisa saw an ad published in a magazine taken out by a nun — Sister María Gómez Valbuena — who offered her services to help single mothers. María Luisa was separated at the time and had another daughter. When she went to see her, María Luisa discovered that the nun was actually offering to take her daughter away to give to a family.
The Madrid public prosecutor’s office is currently looking into more than 100 cases of stolen babies.