Physical and sexual abuse of children by their caregivers at an orphanage in Guanajuato is the result of collusion between the Catholic church and the government of Guanajuato, a non-governmental organization has charged.
The orphanage and shelter called Ciudad de los Niños (City of the Children) in Salamanca was founded 40 years ago by Catholic priest Pedro Gutiérrez Farías, who has registered 134 children as his own before local authorities.
A report compiled by the children’s rights advocacy group Nima claims that the mothers of the children registered by the priest were teenage girls raped within the orphanage’s premises.
Institutionalization and Violence in the City of the Children gathered witness accounts of individuals that survived the violence. The babies of other raped girls “were given up for adoption by people in the United States,” said the report, declaring that it is necessary to review the legality of all such procedures undertaken by the shelter.
Father Gutiérrez’ alleged abuse of the children was such that they began calling him him El Castigador (The Punisher), continued the report.
Nima said the priest was able to remain under the radar for years thanks to his close ties with high-ranking politicians affiliated with the right-leaning National Action Party (PAN), including former president Vicente Fox Quesada and Senator Juan Carlos Romero Hicks.
In March 2016, a formal complaint was filed before state authorities, revealing instances of beatings, sexual abuse and embezzlement committed by the orphanage’s staff.
The DIF family services agency visited the orphanage and documented the case of “a nun that burned the hands of a seven-year-old girl on a stove for stealing a bit of play dough.”
Months later, Gutiérrez filed an amparo, or injunction request, “in representation of the girl” to prevent her from leaving the orphanage, where she had been kept for two years.
A federal judge rejected the request and issued recommendations to protect the girl and the other children in the three shelters operated by La CIudad de los Niños.
“It is not beneficial for the minors to continue to live in the social assistance centers managed by the civil association Ciudad de los Niños of Salamanca,” ruled the judge in July last year.
But the well-being of minors at Ciudad de los Niños was not guaranteed. A report filed by a municipal clerk in April said two girls disappeared from the orphanage in February but despite an official investigation and search they have not been found.
Nima and other children’s rights advocacy groups have requested that the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) take over the case in order to prevent local authorities from protecting him from justice.
“The neglect and collusion of the government of Guanajuato with the Catholic hierarchy hint at the re-victimization of girls, boys and teenagers through a pact of impunity,” warned the organizations,” . . . placing the word and political ties of abusers and pederasts before the interests of children.”
The Executive Commission for Attention to Victims (CEAV) and the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) have announced they will look into the case, and also requested the intervention of the PGR.
Source: Animal Político (sp)