March-April 2018, Parts I & II
The Gaztelueta Sex Abuse Case – Opus Dei On Trial
Part I, By Randy Engel
met toestemming van de auteur / with permission of the author
Nay, indeed, if you had your eyes, you might fail of the knowing me: it is a wise father hat knows his own child. Well, old man, I will tell you news of your son: give me your blessing: truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long; a man’s son may, but at the length truth will out.
The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare
On October 3, 2015, Crux news site, part of Opus Dei’s vast international outreach media machine, featured an article titled “Pope Promises Church Trial Against Alleged Spanish Sex Abuser.” It was written by Crux Vatican correspondent Inés San Martín, who earned her degree in journalism and social communications in part from Opus Dei’s flagship, the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.
As is Crux’s policy and practice, San Martin’s connections to Opus Dei have been withheld from the reader even though that connection is very relevant here because the institution in question, Gaztelueta, a private boys school located in Basque country in the town of Leioa (Bizkaia), Spain, is a corporate work of the Prelature, and because the alleged perpetrator of the crime, José María Martínez Sanz, aka JMMS, is an Opus Dei numerary.
Writing under a Rome dateline, San Martin states that on the previous day, October 2, 2015, the Basque newspaper El Mundo (The World) had released a copy of a letter, hand-written by Pope Francis on December 29, 2014, to the father of the alleged sexual abuse victim, now of legal age.
The pope expressed his solidarity with the family of the survivor of the attack and said that he had requested a canonical trial against the teacher and the school be held by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), but without disturbing the victim. Further, he wrote that he was sending the file of documents provided to him by the victim’s father to the CDF.
According to the Crux reporter, the family of the survivor had previously filed a criminal complaint in Spanish courts, “but after an investigation it was rejected for insufficient proof.”
She also noted that “the teacher, who was suspended from the school for one year before the complaints were filed, reportedly traveled to England [Australia] and didn’t return. At that time, however, he expressed his willingness to testify and claimed to be innocent”
Although the Crux reporter did not include any comments from the alleged victim’s family, she generously quotes the official Opus Dei press statement that appeared on the Gaztelueta website on the same day the El Mundo story broke.
San Martin writes that the Opus Dei headmaster of Gaztelueta, Imanol Goyarrola, welcomed the investigation by the CDF. She made no mention of the fact that Gayarrola’s own “exhaustive internal investigation” had already found JMMS, the alleged perp, innocent, and that the charges against him were “unproven.”
Frankly, having spent more than a month just lining up more than a hundred documents and references on the extraordinarily complex Gaztelueta case, which by the time San Martin picked it up, was already more than five years old, I was amazed that San Martin was able to put together her own story for Crux in less than 24 hours after the initial El Mundo article was released. But more surprises from San Martin were on the way.
CRUX Exonerates Both Gaztelueta and OD Teacher
On October 13, 2015, ten days after the initial Crux article appeared, San Martin produced a follow-up story bearing the headline, “Vatican Closes Abuse Probe Promised by Pope Francis at Spanish School.”
The opening line summarizes the story: “A Vatican department has closed an inquiry into the alleged sexual abuse of a boy at an Opus Dei school in northern Spain, just weeks after a local newspaper published a handwritten letter signed by Pope Francis promising the accusations would be investigated.”
According to San Martin, on October 9, 2015, the CDF in Rome notified Iñaki Cires, the Opus Dei Deputy Director of Gaztelueta in Bilbao, Spain, that its investigation had been concluded in favor of the accused teacher and school. The CDF “cited a lack of evidence as its reason for closing the probe,” and said that the “good name and reputation of the accused must be restored,” San Martin reported.
San Martin reiterated for the reader that the CDF said it was Pope Francis who made the final decision to close the investigation.
San Martin quotes Leticia de la Hoz, the lead attorney for the alleged victim and his family in Spain, that the family was “shocked” to learn the news that the CDF had conducted a probe and exonerated the alleged perpetrator because as far as her clients were concerned, they didn’t even know that a formal investigation had begun, much less than it had ended against the victim.
San Martin apparently did not think it necessary to explain why officials at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would notify Gaztelueta, which immediately released a statement prepared by Opus Dei spin masters exonerating the school and the teacher, but failed to issue an official written statement from the CDF notifying the victim and his family that the pope had ordered the investigation closed.
According to San Martin, “A source with knowledge of the case, however, who asked not to be identified because he’s not authorized to speak on the subject, had told Crux on Tuesday that local Church personnel delegated by the Vatican to run the investigation did speak to the victim and to family members.”
And so, Crux dutifully closed the Gaztelueta case for Catholic readers in the United States on the high note that the Work has once again triumphed over adversity and false witness.
Fortunately, however, the Gaztelueta affair does not end with Crux or San Martin or Opus Dei.
To quote the Bard of Avon once again, “at length, truth will out.” And, in the Gaztelueta case, Truth has quite a different story to tell.
The Prestigious Gaztelueta – In Its Own Words
“Gaztelueta is a government approved private school situated in Leioa, on the outskirts of Bilboa (Spain) which was founded in 1951by a group of concerned parents who wanted their sons to receive an education that would focus on individual attention, respect for freedom of choice, and the development and promotion of personal responsibility as well as a Christian outlook in life.”
“Gaztelueta runs an educational model based on the transcendental approach to human existence and makes a great effort to give personal attention to each and every one of its students so that each can maximize his talents and abilities, develop his own opinions, and attain a level of maturity and knowledge necessary to enable him to follow his decisions through to the end with honesty, integrity and responsibility.”
“Our school motto: ‘that our yes be yes, that our no be no,’ [James 5:12] stems from our fundamental desire to bestow special relevance to the principles of sincerity and loyalty.”
In addition to Gaztelueta’s primary and secondary grades, it also specializes in infant education for children ages one to five. The students number approximately 1,200.
“Gaztelueta College (School) is a corporate work of Opus Dei. The Prelature of Opus Dei is exclusively responsible for the Christian guidance of the school. In classes of religion the students are taught according to the recommendations laid down by the Spanish Synod of Bishops and the school follows the liturgical calendar.”
Gaztelueta and the Office of Preceptor
Like many upscale, traditional boys’ schools, Gaztelueta features the office of Preceptor, a position held by Opus Dei celibate numeraries. An Opus Dei preceptor is much more than a teacher or instructor. He is a permanent tutor, a personal mentor, and a spiritual director, whose avowed task is to assist his young charge academically and spiritually throughout his teen years at Gaztelueta. It would not be an exaggeration to say that a preceptor influences the whole boy – mind, body and soul.
Routinely speaking, a preceptor at the Opus Dei school will take his assigned student out of class (except at exam time) every two weeks or so for a 20-40 minute “chat” for which Opus Dei is notoriously famous. There is no escape.
Behind closed doors, the preceptor questions the student about his academics as well as personal information pertaining to his faith, family life, sports interests, companions … and, yes, his sexual life.
Given Opus Dei’s known obsession with “Holy Purity,” young boys are routinely grilled on their masturbatory habits, if any, including specific details such as the where, when, and frequency of self-abuse as well as their thoughts during masturbation. Students are also questioned about other forms of sexual activity with fellow students and girlfriends.
If the reader understands that proselytization (recruitment) is the primary objective of Opus Dei and Opus Dei schools are the main source of numeraries (and numerary priests) to serve the Work, this explicit invasion of the privacy of a young boy (outside of the Confessional) by an unmarried adult male unrelated to the student in a sequestered environment, makes perfect sense.
That such an arrangement can also become a pederast’s dreamscape, also makes sense, terrible sense, despite assurances to parents by Opus Dei officials that the sexual abuse of children and youth can never happen in their facilities.
A Profile of the Accused Opus Dei Pederast
José María Martínez came to Gaztelueta in 2003. He hails from a very prominent Spanish family.
The Opus Dei numerary and Professor of History, then in his mid-twenties, was sent to Gaztelueta to teach religion and morality and languages. That he was also expected to actively recruit underage young boys for the Work is a given.
JMMS took up residence at the Olalde Youth Association in Leioa located near the school.
The Olalde Social Club is operated by Opus Dei and is frequented by adolescent boys, many from Gaztelueta. The group organizes camping trips and excursions for young boys and other functions that attract pre-teens and older teens to the Work away from the purview of their parents.
JMMS also served as a “monitor” at the Olalde youth center on his free time. From photographs of group activities in which he has appeared, he looked to be popular with the boys who frequented the center.
JMMS was also a dinner guest at the home of the victim’s parents who, on at least three occasions, witnessed the perpetrator aggressively attempting to recruit their son to the Work, even though the boy was only 12 or 13 years old.
In numerous public statements concerning the charge of pederasty against JMMS, Opus Dei insists that the middle-age preceptor had no previous assault record involving minors.
However, by the time JMMS met the young 12-year-old Anaia (not his real name) and was assigned to be the boy’s preceptor, he had already developed a wide range of sophisticated grooming techniques to ensnare his young prey. This man was no bungling amateur perp. He was an experienced sexual predator, and his accuser, most certainly, was not his first victim.
Pederasty is rarely, if ever, a one-time criminal offense.
The Nightmares Begin for the Victim
Gaztelueta was a happy place to learn and study says young Anaia before he met Professor Martínez.
The young boy’s parents recall his early days in primary school where Anaia was an excellent student, was well liked by his classmates, and enjoyed sports especially football. He was the 6th grade school captain. Just a precious, happy-go-lucky normal kid.
But everything about their son changed for the worse when, at age 12, he started his first ESO (Compulsory Secondary Education) term from 2008-2009 and one year later, entered his second Secondary School term from 2009-2010 at age 13.
Their son became withdrawn, restless, and depressed. He could not study, and he could not sleep. He had difficulty communicating. He stopped talking. He stopped moving. He did not want to go to school.
When hard pressed for the reason behind his sudden negative transformation, Anaia initially told his father that he was being bullied by his classmates, which was true, but not the whole truth.
Finally, in 2010, the exasperated parents pulled both their children out of Gaztelueta and placed them in another school in Bizkaia. They still thought the only issue was bullying.
But, the youngster was not able to complete his third term of ESO at the new school as his health had completely deteriorated. His parents hired a tutor, but his academic progress was nil. Sometimes his parents would find him hiding, curled up in a fetal position, almost comatose. Unbeknownst to them, the harassment of their son by his classmates egged on by the perpetrator continued via social media [Tuenti].
Then, one fateful Spring day in 2011, their 16-year-old son exploded emotionally. And the awful truth came rushing out in a torrent of tears and groans. He told them he had been sexually-abused by his preceptor at Gaztelueta (although the exact nature of the abuse was revealed only bit by bit), and that the bullying and torment inflicted upon him by his classmates was connected to their knowledge of that abuse.
So Anaia’s classmates, who started calling him “a fag,” and “Martinez’s wife,” knew, or at least suspected, some kind of a sexual relationship between the teacher and the boy. Yet Opus Dei Director Imanol Goyarrola in an interview with InfoVaticana in 2015, repeated that he “Never. From no one,” heard of any rumors or received complaints concerning sexual abuse or bullying, from other teachers or students at Gaztelueta.
How is that possible?
Now in his early 20s, Anaia still relives over and over in his mind when and how the abuse began – and how it continued… on and on…
He called me out of class to his office
He shut the door behind him.
He closed the blinds … I felt trapped
He started to ask me questions about sex
He told me to remove my shirt
He told me to lower my pants
He began to massage my body. There was touching … all over
He showed me pictures of naked girls
He urged me to masturbate myself
He put me on his knees and I could feel his erection
Gradually, the sessions increased in frequency and intensity. During the second term, the nature of the abuse took on a rougher tone as the perpetrator’s actions began to resemble more and more, adult homosexual sex acts including the insertion of objects into the boy’s anus to dilate the rectum in anticipation of an act of sodomy, and the act of sodomy itself.
Anaia’s Parents Contact Gaztelueta Officials
As soon as Anaia’s father heard the truth about his son’s abuse, he put a call into the office of the Deputy Director of Gaztelueta. By this time, former headmaster Imanol Goyarrola had taken over the position of Iñaki Cires.
At a meeting on June 7, 2011, Anaia’s father expressed his concern not only about their own son but about other boys at the school. He wanted the school to communicate the information of the assault to other parents, and to prepare and enforce protocols that would prevent future abuse. He also believed that the perpetrator should be provided with treatment.
At first the Opus Dei director appeared sympathetic.
He told the victim’s father that the perpetrator had left the country and gone to Australia [not England] for the 2011-2012 academic year. Goyarrola said that the Opus Dei numerary had taken a pre-arranged one-year sabbatical (financed by Opus Dei) to study language abroad. And that he was not coming back to the school.
In later interviews with the media, Goyarrola would insist that the fact that JMMS’s departure from the school just happen to coincide with revelations of his abuse of Anaia, was just a coincidence.
Goyarrola told Anaia’s parents that JMMS had admitted to certain accusations but claimed that he did it to strengthen the character of Anaia. The preceptor said he told the boy to take off his shirt because it was hot; and closed the shades because the sun was shining on the boy’s face; and showed him pictures of unclad young girls to show how girls develop sexually, etc.
Later, the deliberately gullible Goyarrola went on conduct his own “exhaustive internal investigation” of the charges against JMMS and he concluded that there was no evidence to prove JMMS’s guilt on charges of sexual abuse.
Which brings up a series of proverbially fatal questions – When and where did Opus Dei officials first learn they had a criminal pederast on their hands? How did they find out? And what did they do about him apart from getting him out of the country.
Parents Take Abuse Charges to Spain’s Courts
When it became clear to Anaia’s parents that Opus Dei officials and directors at Gaztelueta were spreading falsehoods about the case and attempting to whitewash Martinez’s crime in order to protect the good name of the institution at all costs, they decided to seek justice from the secular courts.
The first public ministry to be notified of the accusations against the perpetrator was the Inspection Department of Education (DOE) of the Basque Government, headed by Inigo Mendez de Vigo, who learned about the case in October 3, 2011. It delivered its report to the Prosecutor’s Office in favor the school.
The second was the Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office of the Basque Country which received the written statements of the alleged victim’s parents and relatives in November 2011, along with the DOE report on the Gaztelueta case. The case was filed “provisionally, for lack of evidence.”
The third and most important ministry was the Office of High Prosecutor of the Basque Country.
On February 3, 2013, Damian Juan Calparsoro, the Senior Basque Public Prosecutor of La Rioja voluntarily opened criminal proceedings for the case following a national expose in a series of articles in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo on December 30, 2012, January 3 and January 7, 2013 by reporter Iker Roja Candueza.
Calparsoro’s office had six months to complete the pre-investigation proceedings, establish the authenticity and nature of the crime, and to formalize the accusations against the accused. This would entail testimony taken from the accuser and the accused (Martinez)who had returned to Spain and was staying at an Opus Dei residence in Pamplona, home of the University of Navarra), as well as other persons with knowledge of the case. A formal complaint would then be filed with the courts.
However, no formal complaint was ever forthcoming from the Prosecutor’s office. Why not?
According to Opus Dei sources cited in the introduction to this article, the Prosecutor failed to file a formal complaint due to “insufficient proof.” But this statement is far from the whole truth.
By his own admission, the reason Calparsoro failed to complete his investigation and file a criminal complaint against Martinez, was not due to “insufficient proof,” but because of the fragile state of mind and body of the alleged victim. The Prosecutor concluded that the young boy’s physical and psychological condition would not survive the judicial process. And without the youth’s testimony it would be just his word against his teacher’s word. And there was an element of truth in this rationalization.
Prominent Psychiatrist Intervenes in Gaztelueta Case
Beginning in 2012, as Anaia’s condition worsened, his parents placed him under the expert care of the prominent Basque psychiatrist, Dr. Iñaki Viar Ponte, who treated the young boy for a series of physical and psychiatric pathologies including visual hallucinations, psychomotor restlessness, body aches, and attempted suicides on three occasions. The young boy could no longer be left to himself but required constant supervision and care.
Here is a selection of heart wrenching comments made by Dr. Viar in his interview with reporter Jose Manuel Vidal of the Religion Digital Edicom, S.L., a communications service based in Madrid, on November 29, 2015:
X suffers from Post-Traumatic [Stress] Syndrome caused by the repeated attack on his bodily integrity, by the continuous humiliations the professor submitted him to, and the ridicule of his classmates that the teacher himself propitiated.
The main characteristic of Post-Traumatic [Stress] Syndrome, is that the events that caused the damage are repeated over and over… because the trauma has altered the mechanism of forgetting, which allows the repeated return of the traumatic memory that makes you ill.
X has been reporting with great effort and much time, the deeply traumatic situation to which he was subject… his difficulty in saying what happened to him is due to the fact that evoking those situations produce fear and anxiety…
His story… has always been coherent and without contradictions, and I have been able to verify the truth of his statement… which allows me to rule out any fabrication.
X was totally subjected to his abuser because of his (the preceptor’s) authority as guardian, and because of the trust of his parents in the religious institution that runs the school, in such a way that it seemed implausible that such events could occur there.
It is not possible to make a prognosis on the evolution of the illness of X. The object of his treatment is to help him reencounter himself as a human being that has the right to his integrity, and to provide him with the resources that will help X overcome the damage he has suffered. I trust that his anatomical and physiological development will contribute to his recovery.
It is easy to see why Dr. Viar’s well-publicized interview on the Gaztelueta case has played a major role in turning the tide of public opinion in Spain in support of the victim and his family and against Martinez and his Opus Dei protectors and media machine. And it may lend some credence to Calparsoro’s decision to postpone his investigation of the case, at least until the victims had healed sufficiently to be able to adequately testify against his abuser.
The Gaztelueta Sex Abuse Case – Opus Dei On Trial – Part II – By Randy Engel
Pope Francis Enters the Fray
While Prosecutor Calparsoro was pondering his future actions on the Gaztelueta case, albeit without any real enthusiasm for publicly confronting the power-house of Opus Dei in Spain, he found himself suddenly upstaged by Pope Francis who announced he was opening the case at the Vatican.
As noted in the introduction to this article, which the reader may want to reread to refresh his memory, on October 3, 2015, Crux reported that on December 29, 2014, Pope Francis issued a juridical order to the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to begin the preliminary criminal judicial process with an investigation of the facts, circumstances, and imputability of the charges related to the Gaztelueta case. The CDF received the commission to investigate the case from Pope Francis on January 7, 2015.
Ten days later, on October 13, 2015, Crux reported that the pope had closed the investigation in favor of the perp and the school.
However, when it comes to reporting all the Opus Dei-inspired intrigues that transpired at the CDF between December 29, 2014 when Pope Francis instructed the CDF to taken on the Gaztelueta investigation, and October 13, 2015, when the pope ostensibly closed the Gaztelueta investigation in favor of Opus Dei, Crux is conspicuously negligent.
Let’s see what Crux doesn’t want its readers to know.
Opus Dei Challenges the Jurisdiction of the CDF
When Anaia’s father first heard that Pope Francis had taken an active interest in the Gaztelueta case he exclaimed “The Pope’s letter was a ray of light in the midst of so much darkness.”
Had he known the reality of the stranglehold that Opus Dei holds over Vatican politics and juridical enterprises, he might have told the Holy Father, “Thanks. But no thanks. We appreciate your kind gesture and prayers, but we believe the road to justice in our case lies with the secular courts.” And he would have been right, as the experience of countless victims of clerical sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic bishops, priests, religious and deacons in the U.S. has demonstrated time after time.
Thus it was, that the ink was not even dry on the pope’s letter to the victim’s family when unofficial and/or unidentified spokesman for Opus Dei raised the issue as to the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to judge a criminal case involving a faithful Catholic layman, to wit, an Opus Dei numerary, who had allegedly committed the crime of pederasty in his native country of Spain.
This challenge to the authority of the CDF comes as no surprise.
As Agustina Lopez de los Mozos, an Opuslibros correspondent has noted, “The world of canon law in Rome and in Spain is dominated by the Work.” And the Special Court of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith draws many of its canon lawyers from Opus Dei’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome and the University of Navarra, Opus Dei’s academic flagship in Spain.
A definitive answer on the exact canonical standing of the numerary lay members of the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei, as opposed to members of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, who officially belong to the Prelature, has yet to be resolved and is beyond the purview of this study.
In any case, it may be salutary to keep in mind that the pope is the Supreme Lawgiver of the Church and he presides over the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, even with a Cardinal Secretary (Prefect) holding office over the congregation.
Also, that the Church has always considered pederasty a crime against both Nature and against the State, is beyond question.
Further, both the 1917 Code of Canon Law and the revised 1983 Code of Canon Law reserved canonical crimes or “delicts,” dealing with offences against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, including pederasty, (sexual interference with a minor below the age of 16) to the exclusive competence of the Holy Office (CDF).
In April 2001, Pope John Paul II, in his capacity as the Supreme Lawgiver of the Church, issued the motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela which reserved exclusive competence for the sexual abuse of minors, under the age of 18, to the CDF.
In the Gaztelueta case involving the Opus Dei numerary layman charged with the sexual abuse of a minor, he (Martinez) logically should have come under the discipline of the Opus Dei Prefect at the time, Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodríguez, who reported to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, who reported to the pope. This did not appear to happen in this case.
Further, the exact juridical channels that were followed once Pope Francis forwarded the case to the CDF Prefect, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller are still shrouded in mystery.
One of those mysteries involves the roles played by Father Silverio Nieto and his aide, Father Rafael Felipe Freije, in the Gaztelueta affair.
The Mystery of the Two Visitors
The mystery surrounding their visitation to the victim’s home is not that we do not know the visitors’ names and professional credentials. We do know who they are.
Father Silverio is a late vocation priest ordained in 1999 at the age of 51. Prior to this time, he was a merchant seaman, radio telegraphist, policeman and local magistrate. After his ordination he earned a Doctorate in Theology, a degree in Canon Law, and served as a judge of the Archdiocese of Madrid. In December 2010, he was appointed a Consultor to the humanitarian relief program begun by Pope Paul VI called the Pontifical Council Cor Unam (One Heart), which under Pope Francis has been merged into the Dicastery for Promoting Human Development. This appointment brought him to the Vatican where he enjoyed a certain degree of attention from prominent heads of various pontifical offices and commissions. Under Pope Benedict XVI, Silverio was appointed a member of the “Outreach Commission” that “listened” to the sex abuse victims of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. So, he has some knowledge of the crime of pederasty and clerical sexual abuse in general. At the time of the interview he held and continues to hold the office of Director of the Civil Legal Services of the Episcopal Conference of Spain.
The second visitor, Father Felipe, is a Doctor of Theology and canon lawyer. He currently serves as a diocesan judge of Girona and was also recently appointed an ecclesiastical judge for the Diocese of Terrassa in the province of Barcelona in Catalonia. In an Twitter commentary titled “Keys to effective action in the face of abuse: knowing, acting, communicating and monitoring,” Felipe proffers the foolish statement: “Today the bishop knows that abuse is a crime, a sin, and a tragedy for the victim and for the whole Church,” as if the Apostles and early Church Fathers were ignorant of that fact that pederasty is both a grave sin and a crime (emphasis added and further comment withheld).
The mystery lies in not knowing for whom the two men were conducting their fishing expedition. But before we tackle that question let us examine the circumstances surrounding that fateful meeting.
On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, six months after Pope Francis had demonstrated his interest in the Gaztelueta case, Anaia’s father received a phone call at his family home from a Father Rafael Felipe who explained that he was calling on behalf of a Father Nieto Silverio Nunez of the Conferencia Episcopal Española (Episcopal Conference of Spain), and that both he and Father Silverio wished to meet with the family to discuss the Gaztelueta matter.
This was the first contact that any ecclesiastical official had made with the family since the papal intervention. The family agreed to the meeting which was quickly set up for Friday, June 19th.
When Anaia’s father informed his son’s lawyer, Leticia de la Hoz, of Felipe’s call, she expressed a desire to be present and called the priest, but she was refused. Felipe told her “Better, no, because it’s going to be an informal conversation without canonical relevance – just a courtesy visit to convey the Holy Father’s concern.” Unfortunately, she made a serious error in not making her attendance a condition for the meeting.
Upon greeting their two guests at their home, the parents were presented with a business card with logo of the Episcopal Conference. Father Silverio, the senior priest, repeated the ostensible nature of their mission, “We come as personal envoys of the Pope, who through us, wants to show his affection and concern for your son.”
However, no signs of sincere affection for the young man and earnest concern for his health and welfare, or compassion for the hell that his parents had been put through were exhibited by the two priests. What promised to be a short, informal and edifying conversation turned out to be a lengthy two and a half hour grueling interrogation in which the victim was greatly disturbed by specific questions touching upon the abuse carried out on his person at Gaztelueta. Had the family lawyer been present, she would have cut the intimidating conversation short and shown the men to the nearest exit. But she was not present. Everything was told to them. This was the first and last time the family ever saw or heard from the good Fathers.
Who were Silverio and Felipe Working For?
Now to return to the all-important question – For whom were the two priests working and to whom did they report their findings?
There are various possibilities including the Episcopal Conference of Spain; the Ordinary of the Diocese of Bilbao, Spain where Gaztelueta is located; Pope Francis; the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Opus Dei. Two of these possibilities can be eliminated immediately if the statements are true.
First let us look at the Episcopal Conference.
When news of the June19th meeting became public, a spokesman for the Episcopal Conference denied that the Conference had played any role in the Gaztelueta matter. A formal statement was issued stating that “There had been no envoy of the Episcopal Conference in contact with the family, and that Conference had neither the desire nor the competence to mediate in the Gaztelueta case. This means that while Silverio was an employee of the Conference, he was not officially representing the Conference in this matter.
The next public denial of any interference in the Gaztelueta case came from Bishop Mario Iceta Gavicagogeascoa, the Ordinary of the Diocese of Bilbao, Spain, the diocese where the crime was committed. To his shame, the statement is true. According to the father of the victim, in the more than 6 years that the battle has raged in the Bilboa diocese, Bishop Iceta has never personally demonstrated the slightest compassion for his son or the family. Nor has the Ordinary publicly exhibited any interest in the case except perhaps to ponder the question of how the pending civil lawsuit filed by the now adult victim will impact the finances of his diocese. In a formal communique, the bishop claimed, “The pastoral care of the Gaztelueta belongs juridically and canonically to the Prelature of Opus Dei, so it is outside the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop.”
Regarding the possibility that Pope Francis appointed and directed the June inquisition by Silverio and Filipe, there is no evidence that such instruction took place. To the contrary, such action is highly unlikely as the pontiff had earlier assured the parents of Anaia that their son would not be directly troubled in the canonical inquiry of the CDF (based on the assumption that the family lawyers, father and attending physicians would be called to represent the victim and testify on his behalf). Also, if the two priests were serving as papal envoys, given the explosive nature of the Gaztelueta case, they would have been carrying official papers to that effect on their person and presented them to the victim and his family when they entered the home. The priests did not present any such formal credentials
Regarding the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a spokesman for the Dicastery, when questioned about the role of Fathers Silverio and Filipe in its investigation, told the Spanish press that the two priests were not representing the Congregation’s Court. But he would not volunteer any further information. Instead he reminded reporters that the Dicastery doesn’t make statements over individual cases and that the normal procedure is to inform the people or authorities involved.
However, from later statements made by Silverio, we can ascertain with a certain degree of confidence that he and Filipe did manage to influence the CDF’s final report leading up to the exoneration of both the school and the alleged perpetrator, even though Filipe had told the family that their interview had “no canonical relevance.”
As for the possibility that Silverio, (we will give Filipe a pass for the time being), was an errand boy for Opus Dei, here we have some positive evidence. Considering that Opus Dei is a defendant in in the Gaztelueta case along with the school and alleged perpetrator, this statement speaks volumes of the intrigue, the deceit, and perfidy with which the Prelature has long been associated.
And what exactly is the nature of the link between Father Silverio, the principle interrogator at the victim’s home, and Opus Dei? The link bears the name of Jorge Fernandez Diaz, Spain’s Minister of the Interior, and an avid disciple and supernumerary of Opus Dei.
In 2017, Diaz aspired to be the next Spanish Ambassador to the Vatican, one of the most important diplomatic posts of the Holy See, but his and Opus Dei’s ambitions were squelched by Pope Francis. The pope had already tasted a bit of Opus Dei’s treachery in 2016, when a Spanish diocesan and “associate” priest of Opus Dei, Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, was arrested and convicted for revealing Vatican financial secrets (Vatileaks 2). Pope Francis gave the plum ambassadorship to veteran diplomat Gerardo Angel Bugallo Ottone of Madrid instead.
Turning our attention back to Father Silverio and his link to Opus Dei, on December 12, 2013, the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial ran a lengthy article on Don Silverio which featured his special relationship with Jorge Fernandez Diaz.
The newspaper reporter drew special attention to the fact that Silverio was “the personal confessor” of the prominent Catholic Minister of the Interior.
From this fact alone, we can draw certain conclusions. The most significant fact being that Silverio is closely connected to Opus Dei since the Prelature frowns upon any member seeking a confessor outside of Opus Dei. Nor, is it likely, that Opus Dei would place such a powerful and influential supernumerary in the hands of a priest that was not totally loyal and subservient to it.
Now, if these conclusions are indeed correct, then we know at least something of the rationale and logic of the mystery visit of June 19th to the victim’s home, and where the information the parents fed to the two priests ended up – in the hands of Opus Dei’s canon lawyers and officers inside and outside the CDF.
Holy See Closes Gaztelueta Case in Favor of Opus Dei
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith closed the Gaztelueta sex abuse case on October 2, 2015. However, there has been no concrete evidence to date, that Pope Francis initiated or personally approved of that closing.
Also, the date of October 2nd is very significant. It marks the date of the founding of Opus Dei through the “Divine Inspiration” of Josemaria Escrivá, 87 years ago.
Knowing Opus Dei, probably not.
One week later, on October 9th, a two-page communication titled “Letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the investigation of a case of sexual abuse in the Gaztelueta school,” signed by Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., a native of the Spanish island of Majorca, was sent to Imanol Goyarrola, Director of Gaztelueta.
Readers may recall the name of Secretary Ladaria in connection with the infamous Trotta canonical trial of July 2017, that took place before Pope Francis made Ladaria Prefect of the CDF.
I remember the Trotta case very clearly.
On March 16, 2012, Ladaria co-signed with Prefect Cardinal William Levada, a formal declaration defrocking Don Gianni Trotta, a religious from the Italian Diocese of Lucera-Troia for crimes of pederasty. The case had been pending since 2009. After the laicization, Ladaria told Trotta’s superiors of the Order of the Sons of Divine Providence to remain silent on the decision to avoid scandal among the faithful. Further, information on Trotta’s criminal record was deliberately withheld from the Italian police. To show his undying gratitude to his two benefactors, Levada and Ladaria, Trotta went on to claim more than two dozen additional victims until he was arrested, convicted, and jailed in 2015 for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy. Multiple trials followed. Trotta is still in prison, but not the two prelates who hid his criminal record.
This is the same man that sent the CDF letter to Director Imanol Goyarrola, the Gaztelueta School (but not the alleged perpetrator, Martinez) on October 9, 2015.
The letter states that Gaztelueta case was closed for lack of evidence surrounding the alleged “canonical crimes” committed by an Opus Dei numerary between 2008 and 2010.
Ladaria stated that the CDF had conducted the canonical inquiry with promptness and all deliberation, and with respect…for the dignity and presumed innocence of the accused as well as the rights of the minor and the witnesses. He also noted that numerous public and private documents pertaining to the case were assessed.
According to Ladaria, since the crimes could not be proven, it is the decision of the CDF (not the pope!) 1) that the case be canonically closed and the good reputation of the accused restored, 2) that the Ordinary of the place where the school is located [Bishop Mario Iceta of the Diocese of Bilbao] communicate in a pastoral manner the decision of the CDF to the parents of the minor complainant and 3) that the same decision be reported to the Director of the Gaztelueta.
So, the Opus Dei Director received a formal document on CDF stationary (Protocol No. 52597) on October 10th, that was backed-up by a faxed copy on October 15th (Protocol No. 52596).
What about Anaia’s family and his lawyers?
They were never informed that the canonical query was even underway and were never called upon by the Dicastery to present their evidence and expert witnesses. What they got was a phone call days later (not from Bishop Iceta but his aide, Vicar Don Angel Unzueta). But no formal written confirmation of the decision to close the case was forthcoming from the Vatican.
How could the CDF have held a thorough and impartial hearing of the Gaztelueta case without any representation from the attorneys representing the alleged victim and his family?
Also, we know that Opus Dei had secured the victim’s family file. The same file the father had given to Pope Francis, who in turn had given it to the CDF. Who in the CDF had given it to the Prelature?
How does that work?
Parents Learn of CDF Decision from Local Press
While Anaia and his parents and lawyers were still oblivious to the fact that the long awaited canonical inquiry of the CDF has come and gone, on October 12, 2015, an international press statement was simultaneously released by the Information Office of Opus Dei in Rome and the Directorate of Gaztelueta and reproduced almost verbatim by Opus Dei media outlets like Crux.
In a follow-up letter addressed to Gaztelueta families, Director Goyarrola claimed that the school and the accused perp have been declared innocent of any crime or wrongdoing
But the CDF never declared that Martinez was innocent of the crime of pederasty or that the school was blameless. The Dicastery simply stated the “canonical crimes” it investigated “have not been proven.” Or the statement may have meant that the accused, being a layman, not a cleric, falls outside the jurisdiction and competency of the CDF.
But what other conclusions could the CDF have come to when the only testimonies and documents it reviewed were from the defense, and when the attorneys for the prosecution were never heard from?
What Kind of Evidence Did Opus Dei Provide to the CDF
The obvious questions this writer will attempt to answer now are – Did Opus Dei intervene directly or indirectly in the Congregation’s decision? Or, perhaps, one better – Did Opus Dei canon lawyers go so far as to write the decision that Archbishop Ladaria signed onto?
There is one piece of evidence that we know from hindsight that supports the charge that even though Opus Dei as a third party for the defense in the Gaztelueta case should have resisted the temptation to use its influence inside the Vatican 1) to close the case in favor of the school and the alleged perpetrator, and 2) to influence any future civil trials in which the Prelature will find itself sitting in the dock next to the accused and the school. It did not.
Ironically, it is none other than Father Silverio whom we must thank for providing us with information regarding this charge.
In an article on the CDF inquiry which was published by El Correo on October 12, 2015, Silverio told his interviewer that he counted on the “estimable help” of an “expert psychologist” in the Gazteluleta case who had filed his report on the victim with the CDF.
Who was this mysterious “expert psychologist?” Silverio doesn’t give us his name.
But we are certain it wasn’t the victim’s attending physician, Dr. Inaki Viar, who is a psychiatrist not a psychologist, because Viar was never asked to provide oral or written testimony to the CDF on the nature of the crimes against Anaia that I have highlighted earlier in this article.
Indeed, according to Anaia’s family, no such person has ever contacted either the victim, his family or his lawyer to arrange for such an interview.
Might Silverio have been referring to Father Filipe?
There is no biographical data to show that Father Filipe holds a degree in psychology and he didn’t introduce himself as a practicing psychologist when he interviewed the victim and his family with Silverio.
But even if Filipe does hold a degree in psychology, of what value would Filipe’s report on the mental and emotional status of the victim be after this brief encounter when compared to a report from Dr. Viar who treated Anaia for years after the boy’s assault?
And if Silverio was not referring to Filipe, then to what phantom psychologist do we attribute the report on the condition of the victim that was submitted to the CDF?
Could the report submitted to the CDF as evidence and/or written testimony by this “expert psychologist” possibly have been created by someone from the Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology at the University of Navarra?
I don’t know. I’m just asking out loud. But I’m sure the Prelature knows who did write the psychological profile of the victim for the CDF. Perhaps it will tell us… one day … but not just yet.
In the meantime, the victim’s father has asked Pope Francis, who he admires and respects, to declare the October 2, 2015, decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, null and void.
Why? I do not understand. One is never to win over Opus Dei at the Vatican, no matter how just the cause.
But it appears still that “Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” for those who do not understand what Opus Dei is about, or what has happened to Truth and Justice and Compassion in the post-Conciliar Church.
But at least for now, the matter appears to be a dead letter, and the family is free to concentrate on the civil trial at hand.
The Current Legal Status of the Gaztelueta Case
Here on the secular front, there appears to be good news.
The formal complaint that the young man filed when he came of age at 18 has been making its way up the Spanish legal system for several years now.
The case now rests in the hand of Judge Emilo Lamo de Espinosa, who is also a member of the Royal Academy off Moral and Political Sciences, the European Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Transparency and Integrity.
On January 20, 2017, in Court No. 5 in Getxo, Spain, Judge Emilo Lamo de Espinosa found that there is “sufficient and clear evidence of criminality” to permit the case to go to trial. He noted specifically the “dominate” and “submissive” relationship of the Gaztelueta teacher over the young boy. He also cited evidence that the alleged perpetrator managed to isolate the victim from his environment and instigated bullying among the victim’s classmates, and he exercised undue influence over the child. The crimes include inserting object into the boy’s anal cavity and sodomy.
Judge Hears Testimony of Gaztelueta Classmate
During the preliminary court hearings at the Getxo courthouse, one sole witness from Gaztelueta, a former classmate (now an adult like Anaia), had the courage to break Opus Dei’s “Omerta” (Code of Silence) that has dominated the Gaztelueta sex abuse scandal for almost a decade.
In the last months of 2015, Opus Dei officials at the school had conduct an organized campaign of slander against the victim and his family They put pressure on Graztelueta teachers and former students (now adults) to sign notarized statements declaring that the victim’s claims of sexual abuse at the hands of JMMS and the incidents of bullying were not true.
Twenty-five of these statements made their way to the judge after the judicial investigation at Getxo had begun.
One teacher claimed that JMMS’s office was not his alone and was used by other teachers and that all teachers had a master key to all offices.
A former classmate of Anaia claimed the alleged victim was not called out of class more frequently than others by JMMS.
Another former classmate testified that JMMS always respected his students.
Another said that JMMS never showed off-color photos of young girls to his young male students.
Another denied he had ever teased the alleged victim about being JMMS’s “bitch.”
Fortunately, the judge believed the later testimony of Anaia’s classmate who, against all odds and pressure, refused to be intimidated by Opus Dei officials and told the unvarnished truth – that Anaia was removed from class with unusual frequency by JMMS and met JMMS alone, behind closed doors for longer periods of time.
In his judicial summary, Judge Emilo Lamo de Espinosa placed evidence into the court record that the Gaztelueta management forced several families of former students to sign statement in favor of JMMS.
Opus Dei Numerary Takes the Fifth
Martinez has made at least two appearances before Judge Emilo Lamo de Espinosa. On both occasions he has been accompanied by his lawyer and worn a hat and dark glasses to hide his face from the cameras.
During his first appearance, which took all of 5 minutes, Martinez, now in his early 40s, proclaimed his innocence and blamed the family of the victim for formulating false charges and accusations. He said that to date, he had been unable to defend himself.
However, at his second appearance at the Getxo court, knowing the criminality of the charges against him were upheld, Martinez took advantage of his constitutional right not to testify against himself. This means that once the research phase of the trial is completed, he will not be called to testify.
There was a follow-up court hearing in mid-February 2018 and a (€) 40,000 bond was posted, but thus far no trial date has yet been set.
On February 13, 2018, the attorney for the defense, Eduardo Ruiz de Erenchun, filed a legal brief before the Provincial Court of Bizkaia in which he said his client denies “absolutely and categorically” that he (Martinez) has committed the facts described in the indictment.
In a later public statement, de Frenchun claimed that after eight years of a media circus, he looks forward to the oral arguments phase of the trial and is certain that it will end with an acquittal for his client. De Erenchun has a Law degree from Opus Dei’s University of Navarra in 1993 and has been an Associate Professor at the University since 1996. Artículo completo en Radio Euskadi
The parents of the victim have reserved the right to take new legal action against teacher and school to demand financial compensation for “civil liability” for consequences of abuse which continues to plague the young man.
They have also asked for the maximum sentence of fourteen years for the dual crimes Martinez has been charged with.
Opus Dei and the Trial of the Century
Clearly, the Gaztelueta sex abuse case puts Opus Dei on trial before the world – NOT BECAUSE one of its numeraries is a criminal pederast (in our age no institution is free from this plague), but BECAUSE OF ALL MANNER OF MALICE, CONTEMPT AND WICKEDNESS the Prelature systematically incited and poured out against an innocent child whose only “crime” was telling the truth about his sexual abuse at the hands of an Opus Dei numerary, and whose parents Opus Dei slandered and deemed “guilty” for doing nothing more than seeking justice for their injured child, now a grown man struggling for normality against all odds.
My prayers go out to this courageous young man and his family.
As for Opus Dei, perhaps the Gaztelueta Case will do for the Prelature what the Marcial Maciel Case did for the Legionaries of Christ.
PS If any reader wishes to send a letter of support to the Cuatrecasas family in Spain, they can use the following address: Mr. and Mrs. Juan Cuatrecasas and Son c/o De La Hoz Law Firm Serrano 32, 1st, 28001 Madrid, Spain
Emails for the Cuatrecasas family can be sent through the De La Hoz Law Firm at: email@example.com