A Granada judge investigating a complaint filed against 10 local priests and two laypeople for pedophilia has ordered the first arrests in the case.
Three priests, all believed to be members of the ultraconservative group known as Los Romanones, and a layperson were detained on Monday and taken to National Police headquarters.
Among those arrested is Father Román V., the alleged head of the group
Among them are Father Román V, the alleged head of the group; Francisco J. M., who took over from Román at the helm in recent years; and Manuel M.
The Archbishop of Granada has already removed the priests accused of abuse from their duties. The inquiry was triggered by a letter that an alleged victim sent to Pope Francis, who personally telephoned the young man and ordered an internal investigation into the allegations.
The victim, who is now 24 and a teacher, allegedly suffered the abuse when he was an altar boy in the Granada parish of Juan María de Vianneimeno.
I left my parents’ home when I was 17 and I went to live in the parish house with R. and two laypeople”
According to his account, Román convinced him little by little to leave his family: “Following his advice, I left my parents’ home when I was 17 and I went to live in the parish house with R. and two laypeople.” According to religion news site Religión Digital, one of these laypeople, known only by the initials S. Q., could be the fourth person arrested.
The young man said he was moved to write his letter to the pope – in which he describes the sexual abuse he suffered over several years – because of “the possible harm […] that other boys and girls might be suffering.” The letter revealed the existence of a suspected group of priests, all friends, who allegedly lured in altar boys under the pretext of imbuing them with religious learning but that in reality hid an underworld of sexual practices.