In the case of this friar, not only the maxim that the habit does not make the monk is more than fulfilled, but also that José Quintela Arias, pastor of O Cebreiro, He used his religious status to sexually abuse two defenseless victims. The Lugo Court did not judge him and sentence him to twelve years in prison for his appearance and attire, but for some very specific facts: the sexual abuse he perpetrated on a minor, 16, and her cousin, 20, both with an intellectual disability. He did it by taking advantage of the age difference – he was 56 years old at the time – of the economic vulnerability of the victims – he gave them money to keep them quiet – and of the superiority that habit gave him. This was concluded by the Hearing in its ruling in 2019, which now confirms point by point, the Supreme, knocking down all the allegations of his defense.
The previous summer the Franciscan had contacted the minor on Facebook, who lived in a nearby town. Little by little, he gained his trust, until in September 2014 he proposed to her, offering him money, to accompany him to the family home he had in A Pobra de Trives (Lugo) to help him clean it. Upon arrival, the minor was surprised that the house was completely collected and arranged, to which the religious excused himself saying that he felt alone and needed to disconnect and someone with whom to talk about his things. That was the scene of the first abuses: at night he got into her bed, kissing her and touching her. She told him to stop, and the next day he gave her a hundred euros.
After that first episode, she stopped answering her messages, but José Quintela ended up convincing her again to return to the Trives family home. There the abuses were repeated, they ended up having a new setting: the same sacristy from the Sanctuary of O Cebreiro. And the delivery of money did not stop either, sometimes one hundred euros, 200 other times, even giving him up to 300 or 400 euros. The sacristy was also the scene of various pornographic portraits that the friar urged that they be taken together.
But to Quintela all that did not seem enough, and he proposed to the minor that seek a third person to make those encounters “more interesting”. She told her cousin, also with a mental handicap. The friar took the two of them to Trives’ house, abusing the young man too, but to a lesser extent than her. And later He gave them 150 euros each “to shut up their mouths”.
The Court sentenced him in 2019 for all this to twelve years in prison and to compensate her with 2,500 euros and 2,000 to him, for moral damages. The defense of the monk presented against this sentence an appeal for breach of form, now laid down in its entirety by the Supreme Court.
The friar’s defense questioned, for example, the impartiality of the judge, who was singled out for his role, very participatory, during the questioning of the victims, given the difficulties of his statements. The TS denies the major and recalls that the judge is “something more than a sphinx”, and that “Impartiality does not imply passivity”. Before the defense complaint, he also confirms that the friar used the money he gave them «As a tool of attraction and psychological conviction».
And the «religious condition», which not only made her seem like a «safe person», but also in the eyes of the relatives, who were reassured when she went with him: «It is not possible to diminish the importance and relevance that his position as a Franciscan had when it came to transferring security and relevance », concludes the Supreme Court. The habit did not make the monk, and the friar used the habit.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism