Finally, A Tiny Speck Of Justice: Spanish Nun Maria Gomez Valbuena Charged In Baby-Stealing Operation, Refuses To Testify


In a small news story, the Huffington Post reports on the case involving some 300,000 stolen babies. This is big news in other countries, but here in the US, it’s not exactly front page news.

MADRID — An 80-year-old Spanish nun has refused to testify at a court hearing about her alleged involvement in the stealing of newborn babies from their parents and selling them to other families.

Spanish police have investigated hundreds of cases amid allegations of baby trafficking dating from the years after Spain’s 1936-39 civil war and supposedly a few even in the mid-1990s.

Authorities were alerted by an association of people searching for lost relatives. The group alleges the scheme involved a nationwide network, including doctors, nurses, midwives, nuns and intermediaries. Mothers were told their babies had been stillborn.

Sister Maria Gomez is the only person subpoenaed so far. She appeared in court Thursday and told the judge she would exercise her right to remain silent.

Reuters reports that Sister Maria Gomez is charged with “illegal detention and falsifying documents.”

According to Newser, one mother of a stolen infant alleges that Sister Maria Gomez also threatened to steal her other child.

Spanish nun Maria Gomez Valbuena (C) leaves a court in Madrid on April 12, 2012, after refusing to testify before the judge for her alleged involvement in a case of stolen children. (PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)

“Stop asking me [where the baby is] or else I will also take away your other daughter and you will go to jail for adultery,” the mother claims Sister Maria Gomez said.

The BBC explains that thousands of babies are thought to have been stolen under Francisco Franco’s dictatorship with the aim of removing children from their “undesirable” left-wing parents and placing them under the care of “approved” right-wing families.

via Spanish Nun Maria Gomez Valbuena Charged In Baby-Stealing Operation.

We’re talking about a baby-stealing operation that continued into the 90’s. Priests, nuns and doctors were involved. One nun has been found to have over a million dollars in her bank account.

The people running the operation told the parents their baby was dead, that they couldn’t see the body, and sold the baby to paying customers. They then falsified all the documents.

I find these crimes so heinous, so offensive and reprehensible, that for the life of me I cannot fathom why it is not front page news around the globe.

300,000 children. It will be hard to follow the trail, since all the facts have been covered up, but just imagine what it would be like to find out you had been one of these babies. You were stolen from your mother and sold to the people you thought were your parents. The people you know as your parents bought you from a baby stealing operation.

In the case of single mothers, that would make at least 600,000 people whose lives have been forever altered beyond belief. If you include the parents who bought the children – who may not have known they were complicit – that would make around 1,200,000 people affected. And once again, the horror is laid at the feet of the Catholic church.

Will the church demand justice for the victims? Will the vast wealth and resources of the Catholic hierarchy be used to help those harmed, bring families back together, and see that justice be done to all those responsible? Not bloody likely. The pattern they have followed for hundreds and hundreds of years is to cover up, to deny, and to protect the wealth and power of the church at all costs.  And it costs the victims of their crimes most.

On Rick Santorum: “A Model Catholic”


Rick Santorum is a nice smiley fanatic. He does not believe in evolution or global warming or women in the workplace. He equates gay sex with bestiality (Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum). He equates contraception with the guillotine. Only a brain-dead party could think him a worthy presidential candidate. Yet he is praised by television pundits, night and day, for being “sincere” and “standing by what he believes.” He is the principled alternative to the evil Moderation of Mitt Romney and the evil Evil of Newt Gingrich. He is presented as a model Catholic. Torquemada was, in that sense, a model Catholic.”

via On Rick Santorum’s Piety: “Torquemada was, in that sense, a model Catholic” | Religion Dispatches.

THIS IS WHY Catholics Are Still Hypocrites Who Support Child Abuse


If you are a good Catholic (or just an average Easter / Christmas kind of Catholic who just thinks Jesus is love and the Pope’s a sweet confused old man) this should outrage you at least as much as it does me:

In 2002, at the height of the outcry over the sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests, the Archbishop of New York, Edward M. Egan, issued a letter to be read at Mass. In it, he offered an apology about the church’s handling of sex-abuse cases in New York and in Bridgeport, Conn., where he was previously posted.

“It is clear that today we have a much better understanding of this problem,” he wrote. “If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry.”

Now, 10 years later and in retirement, Cardinal Egan has taken back his apology.

In a interview with Connecticut magazine published on the magazine’s Web site last week, a surprisingly frank Cardinal Egan said of the apology, “I never should have said that,” and added, “I don’t think we did anything wrong.”

He said many more things in the interview, some of them seemingly at odds with the facts. He repeatedly denied that any sex abuse had occurred on his watch in Bridgeport. He said that even now, the church in Connecticut had no obligation to report sexual abuse accusations to the authorities. (A law on the books since the 1970s says otherwise.) And he described the Bridgeport diocese’s handling of sex-abuse cases as “incredibly good.”

All of which has Cardinal Egan, now 79 and living in Manhattan, drawing fire from advocates who say he has reopened old wounds.

via Cardinal Egan Criticized for Retracting Apology on Sex-Abuse Crisis – NYTimes.com.

If you aren’t all out marching in the street, demanding that your diocese not only refute these remarks, but agree to follow the laws here on earth and report and help prosecute any further abuse, then you are complicit. The hypocrisy of that, and the complacency of the Catholic Church and its flock (they’re apparently called sheep for a reason)  makes one thing crystal clear to those of us not blinded by faith: if and when Jesus The Christ comes back, he’s not setting foot in any of your temples, unless it’s to help burn them down. Even the most pious among you can’t twist His words enough to make it sound like Jesus would support child abuse in the name of “the greater good” the church has supposedly done. Think he’s going to lift you up to heaven? You stood idly by while children were raped, their rapists were protected, and then moved to other areas where they could continue their crimes. Didn’t know about all that? You do now, so you’re guilty of allowing all the people involved to go free. What are you doing about it? Praying’s not enough. I haven’t read the whole bible, but it seems like God can be kind of vengeful about this sort of stuff.

So, until you empty out the coffers, melt down the golden scepters, and sell the Gucci loafers; until you find every last one of the harmed, pay for all the compensation and therapy they deserve for the rest of their horribly affected lives, and then root out, expose and prosecute all the evildoers and their accomplices – including the Pope – then and not until then can you begin to pretend to lead in the footsteps of Christ.

But, hey, that’s hard – it’s a lot easier to attack me and not take responsibility for any of that. Besides, what could a godless atheist like me know about What Jesus Would Do? Would He stand for this hypocrisy? Maybe he was just a man after all.

Spain’s 300,000 Stolen Babies: Why isn’t this Front Page News?


You may have already heard the story: 300,000 babies taken from their mothers – who were told, often cruelly, their babies were dead – and sold to infertile couples for money. All with the help of the Catholic Church and a network of doctors, midwives, priests and nuns.

I keep googling this story to find out more, to hear a reaction from the Catholic Church, something. This story was from Nov. 18th, and it’s the last major news I can find.

What began as a trickle of revelation about General Francisco Franco’s ideological cleansing by taking children from their parents is now a fully engaged scandal in a country wracked by debt, unemployment and civil unrest. As many as 300,000 babies, Spaniards have been told, were wrested from their mothers between 1960 and 1989 by a network of doctors, midwives, priests and nuns who then sold them to infertile couples for huge sums.

The scandal emerged four years ago, when a dying father revealed to his son, Juan Luis Moreno, that he and a childhood friend, Antonio Barroso, had, in fact, been bought from a priest and a nun for about 200,000 pesetas each in 1969, money that could have bought a small flat. Pesetas were the Spanish currency until 2002.

Nobody knows for sure how many children — and parents — are living false lives. Nearly 1,000 lawsuits have been filed in courts ill-prepared to handle them. And with the scandal has come a stream of shocking details — tiny corpses kept in freezers as decoys to show grieving parents; nuns with million-dollar real estate holdings and caskets exhumed after decades found empty.

via World News: Searching for Spain’s stolen babies – thestar.com.

Reality Will Do That: A Man Loses His Faith Over The Penn State Tragedy


Thomas L. Day has a few things to say about where he grew up, where he went to college, and where he got help: the Second Mile foundation. He was not abused (though he knows he could have been) but part of him has been damaged just the same.

His story begins as a stinging rebuke of the generation that brought us this latest scandal – and the decline we’re in – and ends as a call to arms for the next generations to make a difference. In between, a man loses faith in all the things people from his part of the country hold holy. I’m not sure if the wool being pulled off is a good thing – from a christian perspective I would think it would be another tragedy, but I have my own hope for another enlightened person fighting the good fight. The leader  Thomas Day is looking for may be him.

It’s a must read:

I’m 31, an Iraq war veteran, a Penn State graduate, a Catholic, a native of State College, acquaintance of Jerry Sandusky’s, and a product of his Second Mile foundation.

And I have fully lost faith in the leadership of my parents’ generation.

I speak not specifically of our parents — I have two loving ones — but of the public leaders our parents’ generation has produced. With the demise of my own community’s two most revered leaders, Sandusky and Joe Paterno, I have decided to continue to respect my elders, but to politely tell them, “Out of my way.”

They have had their time to lead. Time’s up. I’m tired of waiting for them to live up to obligations.

Think of the world our parents’ generation inherited. They inherited a country of boundless economic prosperity and the highest admiration overseas, produced by the hands of their mothers and fathers. They were safe. For most, they were endowed opportunities to succeed, to prosper, and build on their parents’ work.

For those of us in our 20s and early 30s, this is not the world we are inheriting.

We looked to Washington to lead us after September 11th. I remember telling my college roommates, in a spate of emotion, that I was thinking of enlisting in the military in the days after the attacks. I expected legions of us — at the orders of our leader — to do the same. But nobody asked us. Instead we were told to go shopping.

The times following September 11th called for leadership, not reckless, gluttonous tax cuts. But our leaders then, as now, seemed more concerned with flattery. Then -House Majority Leader and now-convicted felon Tom Delay told us, “nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes.” Not exactly Churchillian stuff.

Those of us who did enlist were ordered into Iraq on the promise of being “greeted as liberators,” in the words of our then-vice president. Several thousand of us are dead from that false promise.

We looked for leadership from our churches, and were told to fight not poverty or injustice, but gay marriage. In the Catholic Church, we were told to blame the media, not the abusive priests, not the bishops, not the Vatican, for making us feel that our church has failed us in its sex abuse scandal and cover-up.

Our parents’ generation has balked at the tough decisions required to preserve our country’s sacred entitlements, leaving us to clean up the mess. They let the infrastructure built with their fathers’ hands crumble like a stale cookie. They downgraded our nation’s credit rating. They seem content to hand us a debt exceeding the size of our entire economy, rather than brave a fight against the fortunate and entrenched interests on K Street and Wall Street.

Now we are asking for jobs and are being told we aren’t good enough, to the tune of 3.3 million unemployed workers between the ages of 25 and 34.

This failure of a generation is as true in the halls of Congress as it is at Penn State.

Read the rest at: Penn State, my final loss of faith – Guest Voices – The Washington Post.

For The Love Of God, Indict ‘Em All


Can someone please explain to me why the outcry is louder over a sports program? Don’t get me wrong, it should be DEAFENING, but it also should be for EVERY institutionally abetted abuse. Dan Savage:

If these guys are facing charges for covering up and facilitating child rape…

Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky used university facilities to sexually abuse young boys over a span of at least 10 years, and top university officials lied under oath about their knowledge of the events, according to a 23-page grand jury presentment.

Sandusky, 67, of State College, was indicted Friday on 40 counts on seven different charges stemming from incidents where he allegedly sexually abused eight young boys from The Second Mile program—the non-profit organization he founded in 1977 for underprivileged children—in Penn State football locker rooms, his home and other locations. Additionally, Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and Penn State Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz were each charged Saturday with perjury and failure to report in connection to the case. According to the grand jury’s findings, both men were aware that Sandusky engaged in “sexual conduct” with a young boy in a shower located in the Lasch Football Building and did not notify police.

…why aren’t these guys?

The “sexual conduct” that Sandusky engaged in those showers? He was observed fucking a 10-year-old boy in the ass. Curley and Schultz were given an eyewitness report, they did nothing, they didn’t notify the authorities, they told the eyewitness not to worry about it, and Sandusky went on to rape more children. Allegedly, allegedly.

Does that sound familiar?

When do the Catholic bishops, archbishops, and cardinals who did the exact same shit—failed to report, covered up crimes, told witnesses and victims to STFU, and made it possible for known pedophiles to rape more children—get their perp walks?

These scumbags heard a firsthand account of the rape of a young boy and not only said nothing, they covered it up. I’m against the death penalty, but extremities-in-a-meat-grinder doesn’t sound so cruel and inhuman to me right now.

via Indict ‘Em All | Slog.

Of Course They’ll Be Punished, They’re Not Priests: Jerry Sandusky Child Sexual Abuse Scandal At Penn State


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Two top Penn State officials charged with covering up allegations of an explosive child-sex abuse scandal related to former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky stepped down late Sunday after an emergency meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees.

Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley requested to be placed on administrative leave so he could devote the time needed to defend himself against perjury and other charges, university President Graham Spanier said. Gary Schultz, vice president for finance and business, will step down and go back into retirement, Spanier said. He declined to comment to reporters after the meeting.

Resignations of famed football coach Joe Paterno and Spanier weren’t discussed at the meeting, which was arranged Sunday and lasted two hours, university spokesman Bill Mahon said.

Curley and Schultz were charged Saturday after a grand jury investigation of Sandusky. He’s been charged with sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years. Lawyers for all three men have said they’re innocent.

Sandusky, once considered Paterno’s heir apparent, retired in 1999 but continued to use the school’s facilities for his work with The Second Mile, a foundation he established to help at-risk kids. Curley and Schultz were accused of failing to alert police – as required by state law – of their investigation of the allegations.

“This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys,” state Attorney General Linda Kelly said Saturday.

Paterno, who last week became the coach with the most wins in Division I football history, wasn’t charged, and the grand jury report didn’t appear to implicate him in wrongdoing.

In a statement issued Sunday night, Paterno said he was shocked, saddened and as surprised as everyone else to hear of the charges.

“If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers,” Paterno said in a statement issued by his son, Scott.

Under Paterno’s four-decades-and-counting stewardship, the Nittany Lions became a bedrock in the college game, and fans packed the stadium in State College, a campus town routinely ranked among America’s best places to live and nicknamed Happy Valley. Paterno’s teams were revered both for winning games – including two national championships – and largely steering clear of trouble. Sandusky, whose defenses were usually anchored by tough-guy linebackers – hence the moniker “Linebacker U” – spent three decades at the school. The charges against him cover the period from 1994 to 2009.

Sandusky, 67, was arrested Saturday and released on $100,000 bail after being arraigned on 40 criminal counts. Curley, 57, and Schultz, 62, are expected to turn themselves in on Monday in Harrisburg.

Tim Curley, Gary Schultz Step Down Amid Jerry Sandusky Sexual Abuse Scandal At Penn State.

That’s it, I’m an Atheist: the Catholic Church Helps Steal 300,000 Babies


There are a million arguments for and against believing in God. This is a really good argument for not believing in religion.

Spanish authorities believe that as many as 300,000 children were stolen from their parents and handed over to other couples. Go read the whole thing. It’s absolutely staggering. And these are the people who believe that they enjoy a divine right to sit in judgment over your sex life, these are the people who believe they should be able to dictate social policies in secular democracies to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Jesus Fucking Christ. -Dan Savage

How in the world can anyone in their right mind support the organization that could do this? How in the name of anything holy could any Catholic not demand every penny go to reparations to the people who were told their children were dead? How in the name of Christ – literally – could such an organization be allowed to flourish?

via O They Will Know We Are Christians, There Is No Morality Without Religion, Every Child Deserves a Mother and Father… | Dan Savage in Slog.

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