The orphanage in Salamanca. The orphanage in Salamanca.

Orphanage closed after abuse reports

Children at facilities operated by Catholic priest are being relocated

An orphanage in Salamanca, Guanajuato, has been shut down following reports of physical and sexual abuse.

Governor Miguel Márquez Márquez announced that the Ciudad de los Niños (City of the Children) orphanage and shelter, operated for 40 years by a Catholic priest, had been closed.

He said children living in the facility will either return to their families or be transferred to other orphanages.

“Over half the children are not from Guanajuato,” said Márquez, adding that some will return to their families in Michoacán and the state of México.

He said no formal accusations have been made against the orphanage’s founder and manager, Pedro Gutiérrez Farías, or his staff.

So far the state has has focused its attention on the medical and psychological care of the children, and investigating where they came from.

Five facilities are associated with La Ciudad de los Niños, three in Salamanca, one in Moroleón and another in Morelia, Michoacán. Reports of abuse in at least one Salamanca facility and the one in Morelia triggered an official investigation by the federal Attorney General’s office on August 2.

The Guanajuato Attorney General has since started its own investigation.

Alleged violations against the children living in the orphanage surfaced after a failed attempt to obtain an amparo, or injunction, July 15.

Since then, reports of physical and sexual abuse and extreme punishments have surfaced, as well as the discovery that Gutiérrez, along with three nuns, had registered 134 children as their own before Civil Registry officials in Salamanca.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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