Manuela Carmena, Encarnación Roca and Juan Luis Cebrián in collaboration with Cremades lawyers in the audit of sexual abuse in the Church

The former mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmenathe former vice president of the Constitutional Court, Rock Incarnation and the journalist and former director of ‘El País’, Juan Luis Cebrianwill collaborate with the audit commissioned by the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) to the Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo law firm to investigate the sexual abuse occurred within the Spanish Catholic Church.

This was revealed by the president of the firm, Javier Cremades, during the presentation of the 28 members that make up the work team that will carry out the investigation, of which 12 are international personalities and 6 of them represent law firms specialized in dealing with this matter.

Although Carmena, Roca and Cebrián will not be part of the working group, they will make reports and opinions that will be added to the investigation. Specifically, Carmena will analyze the perspective and experience of victims; Rock, will focus on the civil liability and compensation of victims; and the opinion of Cebrián, who is already a member of the Advisory Council of Cremades & Calvo Sotelo, will deal with the dimension of the social comunication both in Spain and internationally.

On the other hand, Cremades has explained that they have received nearly fifty complaints in the first six weeks of work and some of these almost 50 people who have contacted the firm they have already been in other listening spaces (around 30%) while other cases (the remaining 70%) are new.

The group of experts that will carry out the audit will be made up of the coordinator of the Portuguese homologous commission, Pedro Strecht; and the founding partners of the German law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) -which prepared the report on abuses in the archdiocese of Munich and Freising-, the lawyers Martin Pusch and Ulrich Wastl.

Other members of the team include the former president of the American Bar Association, Patricia Lee Refo; the lawyer and partner of the British firm Dawson Cornwell and expert in cases of sexual abuse, Carolina Marin Pedreno; the founding partner of the German Hispanic law firm 3C Compliance and president of the European Association of Women Lawyers, katherine miller; the lawyer from the Cremades office and president of the Human Rights Institute of the World Association of Jurists, Juan Carlos Gutierrez; the lawyer from the US law firm Paul Weiss Liza M. Velazquez; the psychologist Marina Pena; and the Argentine lawyer specializing in sexual abuse in the Church, John Paul Gallegoamong others.

The president of the Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo law firm, Javier Cremades, explained that the group of experts has been working for six weeks, during which they have already met on several occasions and found “practically all” associations that care for victims of sexual abuse of minors in the Church.

Javier Cremades has defended the “plurality” of the work team with “different specialties, different ideological perspectives” and with different visions of the religious fact. “It is a team that is especially competent and plural in every way to facilitate a better understanding of the phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable people within the Church,” he stressed.

The group, as pointed out by Cremades, has started the “listen carefully to the victims to understand the truth and take the first step in reparation” and has had a “deep impact” on his conception of the problem that “today is different from six weeks ago”.

The president of the law firm has said that “all” victims of abuse have “open doors” for this working group “now and in the future.” He precisely he has said that they have spoken with all the associations except Stolen Childhood, which two weeks ago met with Cardinal Juan José Omella to show his rejection of the Cremades audit. “We deeply respect what they think and do, and we are available to include them as we are already doing with some of its members”, stated Javier Cremades.

Willingness to collaborate with the Ombudsman

It has also expressed its commitment to “facilitate, to the extent required, the work of the Ombudsman’s commission”. “We are not here to compete but to collaborate, to facilitate, not only wishing for the best end, the best result, the greatest success, but to the extent that it is in our power, facilitate their work with the contribution of data and experiences that we are collecting”, he detailed.

As he said, the commission commissioned by Congress is “in good hands and has a difficult job” because “it has already faced distrust.” “No one is going to do a job to everyone’s liking”has pointed out, while indicating that he has already spoken with the Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, who has told him that he faces the task “with deep responsibility”.

Cremades has also met with the bishops of Malaga, Jesús Catalá, Santiago de Compostela, Julián Barrio, and Madrid, Carlos Osoro, “to start a dialogue.” In addition, regarding access to files, he has assured that they have “the promise of access” to them and now the data is missing, but he has affirmed that has “confidence” that they will have them.

Regarding the works, he has indicated that they will consist of three blocks, the first collection of facts and data; a second part of repair that, as Cremades has specified, will not be up to the office; and a third block of ‘compliance’, of practices to better combat these crimes and prevent their recurrence in the future.

Specifically, regarding compensation, Cremades has advocated “stable institutional mechanisms” so that victims of abuse in the Church can have “something similar to what the Germans have with their recognition processes” and can “avoid going through an entire judicial process to reach compensation.”

Javier Cremades has pointed out that they are going to “try not to disappoint either the victims or society as a whole” in this “delicate” task that lies ahead.

Don’t fall into silence

For his part, Pedro Strecht underlined the importance of “not falling into silence”, that the media publicize the work that is being carried out and that “all victims speak up”.

“Decades have passed for most of them, let them speak so that they are recognized as people who have suffered and above all so that we can all give voice to silence, together, that Portugal, Spain, Germany, the US can go together for the truth”, he assessed.

Regarding the reparation of people, he considers that more than economic compensation, “what people want most is their recognition as people, of their suffering and that it not be repeated”. “That is the most important thing”, he remarked.

He has also defended the plurality of the commission with “different ideological, political and religious perspectives” and has been convinced that they will do “the best” although he has recognized that “there are no perfect commissions or works”. In addition, he has asked the Church “not to be afraid”. “It is not something against you, it is something that we are doing with you and for you, that the Church is not afraid to recognize what has happened,” he settled.


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