Saturday, May 27

The family of the victim of the third monk denounced in Catalonia: “It broke our hearts”

According to the victim’s statement, these sexual abuses took place within the Abbey premises and while the institution, as he said publicly, was immersed in the task of thoroughly investigating the pedophilia embedded within the order. And to perpetrate the abuses, Brother Gabriel, born in 1980, used a position that facilitated his contact with minors from a position of superiority, as did the other two pedophile clerics known to date. The first did so from his position at the head of the escolania –The liturgical choir–, the second as the head of the escort group of ‘The Service Boys’, and Brother Gabriel, the third, thanks to the aforementioned meetings of Montserrat Jove.

Abuses parallel to the commission

The Abbey of Montserrat promoted in January 2019 a external inquiry commission to clarify the sexual abuse committed by the monk Andreu Soler. The commission was the abbey’s response to the concealment of Soler’s pedophilia, uncovered by the activist’s complaint Miguel Hurtado published in THE NEWSPAPER. In September 2019, eight months after the announcement of its creation, the commission concluded that the monk behaved “like a predator” and regretted that he existed. “Enough rumor mill” to have separated Soler from contact with minors – no one did until he passed away in 2008, when he was also honored-. He also revealed that during his search he had located two victims of a second pedophile, a monk who had abused them while he was in charge of the choir.

The abuses committed by this third monk under suspicion are much more recent, dating from May 2019, a date that also assumes that they happened while the commission was in operation. Parallel to the work of this commission, Brother Gabriel invited the victim to spend a weekend at the monastery and abused the minor for two consecutive nights, according to the complaint to the Mossos d’Esquadra.

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The monk says there was consent

The Manresa court that instructs the complaint collected by the Mossos summoned brother Gabriel to testify a few weeks ago. According to the judicial sources consulted by this newspaper, Brother Gabriel admitted sexual contact in court with the minor but affirmed that they were two consensual encounters. In Spain, the minimum age to consent to a sexual relationship is 16 years old. Penalty that declaration can have its route as a defense strategy. In his condition as a religious, however, he leads him to a scenario without escape: the monks have made vows of chastity and brother Gabriel, furthermore, is deacon and they cannot have sex outside of marriage. Montserrat reported the case to the Doctrine of the Holy Faith, the Vatican body responsible for cases of pedophilia. Having had consensual relationships, something that the victim also denies, is not a valid argument in Rome.

Brother Gabriel started the novitiate in 2004 and 2010 he made a solemn commitment to the monastic organization. Between 2012 and 2017 he studied Church history in Rome and started a doctorate that is about to end. In 2017 he was ordained as a deacon. In 2018 he was appointed vice-rector of the Sanctuary of Montserrat. According to the victim, who participated in several editions of Monserrat Jove, Brother Gabriel played a leading role in the meetings. In 2013 he was chosen to star in the chapter that the series ‘Young people with VAT’ of the Jordi Pujol Study Center dedicated to the abbey. Regarding his status as a monk, he said this: “For me it is not a burden, not having married, not having a family. It is a life option and you have to be consistent. And if it really is a life choice that comes out of you, which is sincere, you don’t have the feeling of having given up on your life either “. According to the victim, the monk insisted that the vows did not prevent him from having sexual relations, they only prohibited him from getting married.

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“He broke my heart”

EL PERIÓDICO has interviewed the victim, who demands anonymity, and his mother. “Knowing that he had abused our son broke our hearts. For us, Montserrat was a idealized place, a paradise, a symbol of Catalanism. That a monk from Montserrat like Brother Gabriel –intelligent, a good speaker, educated– wanted to have that degree of friendship with our son, was a privilege. Finding out what he did filled me with rage, ”the mother was sincere.

The complainant, who is now 19 years old, and Brother Gabriel met in 2016, at a meeting in Montserrat Jove. The monk seemed infatuated with him. “He began to write to me. We talked a lot on the phone and he became a spiritual guide to whom he told everything. He also knew that he was homosexual. In May 2019, when he was stressed by the final exams, he invited me to Montserrat to spend a weekend of the week, ”explains the young man. The monastery’s guesthouse was complete and Brother Gabriel booked a room in the exterior apartments.

“We bought a bottle of cava so that my son would give it to him as a token of appreciation for the invitation, ”recalls the mother. With that bottle Brother Gabriel showed up at the apartment on Friday night. Aware that the minor had never gotten drunk, she invited him to drink and convinced him to agree to have sex in an alcoholic state that made it take weeks for the victim to remember clearly what had happened. “I felt bad, I couldn’t sleep and he wrote to me all the time“, remember. The young man requested psychological help and was later treated by the Vicky Bernadet Foundation. Thanks to this support, he was able to become aware of an abuse that, above all, has shattered his “Space of trust” and finally gathered the necessary fortitude to go to a police station of the Mossos last June. The private prosecution of the family denies that it existed no consent on the victim’s side, stresses that the monk abused his position of superiority and he thinks he used the alcohol – the second night he came back with another bottle – as sedative to achieve its purpose.

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“In no case have we spoken to unleash a Witch hunt in Montserrat or promoting a lynching against Brother Gabriel. We just want to know if someone else has gone through the same thing and prevent it from happening again ”, insist mother and son.

The monk Gabriel stands section of its functions and, according to the abbey, he has no contact with minors. The monastery reported the complaint against him through a statement in June 2021.

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