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Unveiling Horror: Child Abuse and Silence at Marist School. Cardinal Omella neglects investigation (4 of 5). 5 niches of abuse uncovered

Actualizado: 2 jul

In recent revelations, the late Brother Conde, a Marist, has been implicated in numerous child abuse cases at Valldemía School in Mataró, Barcelona, spanning the years 1973 to 1975. Despite attempts to uncover the truth, a 2016 meeting with the Champagnat Foundation yielded no significant information. In 2022, the researcher gathered testimonies from four victims, revealing a previously unexplored avenue of inquiry. Shockingly, the abuse extended to psychological torment by other Marist brothers, creating a culture of fear and silence. This investigation seeks to ensure that the pain endured by these victims is neither forgotten nor ignored.

The Editor at Jacques Pintor


AUTHOR: JORDI PICAZO SALOMÓ, BA (Hons), MA, MCIJ, PGCE, a Member of The Chartered Institute of Journalists, UK. Member of the Il.lustre Col.legi de Periodistes de Catalunya. Member of the RNA (Religion News Association, US)



This article was first published on 1 July 2024.
1.- Sexual abuse and silence. Diocese of Barcelona. the Marists broters in  Mataró, Spain
2.- Three more posts will contain the following sections
3.- About This Series of 5 Posts by our Team Member Journalist Jordi Picazo
To Be Continued



The late Marist brother, Conde, was implicated in numerous child abuse cases at the Valldemía School in Mataró, Barcelona, predominantly between 1973-1975. In 2022, the researcher personally recorded testimonies from four victims with their consent, highlighting a previously unexplored avenue of inquiry. Despite attempts to address the issue, a 2016 meeting with the President of the Champagnat Foundation of the Marists in Barcelona yielded minimal information. The researcher also attended the school from 1968-1976.


The following is a recent conversation from a relatively short time ago between Jordi Picazo and a two victims of abuse at the Marist school in Mataró, Spain.

VICTIM 1: It's clear that I am talking about my class, my classmates. At our age... we didn't grasp the severity of what this entailed. What we felt was panic. I remember that Brother Conde, especially in the Handicrafts class, would come in, taking advantage of the boys working on various projects, and he would come up behind you and start touching you...

JORDI PICAZO: Notice that I escaped this being only a year or two behind your course during the times you're talking about. Something similar happened to me with a Marist brother named Luis. These weren't sexual abuses but psychological abuses. I told my mother about it. Every time he saw me arrive at the school on Saturday - back then we still had classes on Saturday mornings, you might remember - he would call me over and make me stand facing the wall in the courtyard, leaving me there while my classmates played. Once, he picked me out in class to write down the names of those who misbehaved or talked, but he told me to write my own name down every third name. All of us would be punished after class.

I also remember the hits with a short, cylindrical wooden stick that Brother Garmendia, the principal at the time, used to point to letters or numbers on the blackboard. When we talked or for other reasons, I can't recall now, he made us hold our fingers up and he would hit them with the stick. It was hard not to reflexively open your hand before the impact, which obviously caused less pain, but then he would repeat the punishment. I remember hits on our bare legs - it was the era of short pants - when we wrote on the board and made mistakes. One of the teachers used to hit us with a long wooden ruler on the legs. I saw Brother Ignacio Garmendia grab a classmate by the hair (we were about 7 or 8 years old) and shake him violently, throwing him to the ground, and once on the ground, he continued shaking him by the hair.

VICTIM 1: Brother Conde's strategy, every day, because he knew the days my class had gymnastics first thing in the afternoon, was to punish one of us. He would make one of us stand still at the beginning of the afternoon when we arrived at three o'clock. 'You, instead of gymnastics, will stand here.' He would leave us there for a while and then, while the rest were in gymnastics class, he would take the student to his room or the infirmary. Once he took me, I kneed him in the groin and left him there and walked out. Then the principal called me to talk.

JORDI PICAZO: Who was the principal, Garmendia?

VICTIM: Escudero. He wanted to expel me, and I told him, 'Look, do you know what Brother Conde has done?' I was about 14 years old then. I remember the names of some boys... Of course, there were some who just let it happen! Because, should they be paralyzed?

And he had his favorites. I remember a boy named XXX. There were several, a friend named YYY who later became the general director of XXX. I'm also thinking of another friend with whom I kept in touch, ZZZ, a teacher at XXX school.

We can question why talk about this now. You and I had already talked about this years ago...

What's the purpose at this moment?

JORDI PICAZO: Something has changed in the game, and it's the existence of the Cremades-Calvo Sotelo law firm. It's meaningful to bring up this case. To ensure it doesn't fall into the void of 'if it's not talked about, it didn't happen... the pain it caused didn't exist.'

Yes, Cremades is compiling a report that aims to be complete and rigorous. It is expected to be thorough - although they are being attacked from all fronts, including the government with Gabilondo, and the anti-Opus groups - now is the time. Without forgetting that many victims will think, 'we must be included in the inventory.' Additionally, Cremades offered Manuela Carmena to participate in the investigation as a plenipotentiary member, as well as to Pedrojota, but Carmena almost dismissed the effort to carry out that task thoroughly. This seems very vile to me. Basically, Carmena suggested that she was not interested in getting involved with people who might have caused the drama. That's the purpose. That the victims in Mataró are included in the inventory.

And here is another conversation, as an example, with a second victim:

VICTIM 2: When I started first grade, now I am 62 years old, I had Brother Morer. Do you remember Brother Morer?

JORDI PICAZO: By name, yes.

VICTIM 2: He taught French. At that time, I played hockey. The first thing that happened with Brother Morer was that we went on some trips to the beach, and he would take pictures of the class. He took pictures of me in my swimsuit and would edit them. He wrote something like 'your purity' and such. I told my mother about it. I was 10 years old, and Brother Morer taught us French. In the second grade, I took guitar lessons with Brother Falguera. I was lucky to take guitar lessons as extracurricular activities with him.

Look what Brother Morer did to me: Brother Morer told me to come to the photography lab. He did photography and had a lab. We had the chemistry lab, the biology lab, the natural history museum, etc. He made me go there when I was 11 years old [already in second grade], made me go to the photography lab at six in the evening. The photography lab had a very large table, like an industrial fabric cutter's table, about 6 meters long and 3 meters wide, and lucky for that. Brother Morer made me sit on his lap, I don't know what he was explaining, this and that, and suddenly he pointed to his cassock, pointing to a spot, and in that spot was his penis.

JORDI PICAZO: Inside the cassock?

VICTIM: Outside, outside the cassock. I was sitting on his left knee...

JORDI PICAZO: "To be clear: did he take his penis out through an opening in the cassock?

VICTIM: Yes, yes, yes. When I saw that, I jumped up and started running around the table, and he started chasing me. And when he came from one side, I went to the other. Lucky for the table. We were like that for half an hour. When I ran to the door of the lab to escape, Brother Morer got there first and blocked it.

Literally, he detained me; it was technically a kidnapping. By pure chance, Brother Falguera was passing by. These rooms had opaque glass at the bottom but clear glass at the top of the partition.

JORDI PICAZO - Yes, I remember.

VICTIM: Brother Falguera was short, but he caught sight of us running and yelled, "But what is this?" He said, "You, run home." I wasn't just running; I was flying down the stairs.

JORDI PICAZO - To understand, he [Falguera] entered and couldn't fully perceive the situation...

VICTIM: Yes, yes, he did perceive it. Brother Morer was chasing me, we were running.

JORDI PICAZO - But he might have imagined you did something wrong...

VICTIM: But it was just him and me, it wasn't a forbidden place; it was a workspace. He passed by and said, "You, run home." I was terrified at home and said nothing. The next morning in class, Brother Falguera, who was our tutor, came up to my desk and whispered in my ear, "Don't say anything at home; it's all settled." We didn't see Brother Morer in class for two months. When he returned, he said his neck hurt and taught French with a microphone and speaker.

Look what he did later... We went to swimming classes; do you remember we were taught to swim at the municipal pool? He came to the pool, watched us, and entered the changing rooms while we changed. But we always changed discreetly with towels, and he never saw anything. But I played hockey and trained every afternoon. I kept my hockey gear —skates, knee pads, shin guards, jockstrap— in my hockey bag at school in unlocked lockers. Brother Morer would come in and watch us change. He'd say, "Hockey players wear jockstraps and such." He stole my hockey gear and said, "If you want it back, come get it in the dorms." You know that in the dorms, the boarders were molested. I didn't go to the dorms. Occasionally, Brother Morer would taunt me, "Don't you want your gear back?" I had to quit hockey. I didn't tell my parents. It was so overwhelming; I was terrified. Six months later, he said, "You know what I did with your hockey gear? I gave it to a boarder because you didn't come to get it." This traumatized me. From then on, I failed in school. I used to get gold and silver crosses, honors, but after that, I was terrified of these people. I didn't tell my mother until I was older. She said, "If you'd told your father, imagine the uproar." From that point, Brother Morer became obsessed with me. That's everything that happened.

JORDI PICAZO - And how did the story continue?

VICTIM: After high school, I had other tutors. We had Brother Morer for French; he had other students and affairs with others. We went to pools in Montpelier during summer vacations, and Morer encouraged me to go, "You'll have so much fun." I told my parents I wanted to go, but my father refused. Morer asked, "Why won't he let you go?" And I'd ask my father, "Why not?" He'd make a gesture with his fingers implying intercourse and ask, "Do you know what this means?" My father suspected something. He'd ask, "Do you know what it means?" I'd say, "No," and he'd respond, "You will."

JORDI PICAZO - But why did you want to go to the pools if you were afraid of him?

VICTIM: I was a child, you understand? I knew nothing about sexuality; I was totally naive. I didn't know about sex between men and women or men and men. About a year had passed since the previous incident. The hockey incident might have been after the pool one.

JORDI PICAZO - Morer has probably died by now.

VICTIM: Rumor had it he was hit by a truck. We didn't hear anything more. But he harassed all of us, this one, that one, various boarders. He was a mentally ill person. In class, he'd say, "This one already this, that one that, so-and-so [the informant relaying] no..." This was in first to third year of high school. The lab incident I told you about was specifically in first or second year.

JORDI PICAZO - What year?

VICTIM: I started in '66 at six years old. It was around '70, '71, or '72.

JORDI PICAZO - Did Morer die in that accident?

VICTIM: Yes, he was hit by a truck, that was public. He was already at another school; he was problematic and was probably sent far away. It spiritually destroyed me. I didn't want to study anymore. I didn't want to go to school. I went to school with fear. I begged to be transferred, but they didn't change my school. Even in fourth grade, I played hooky all year. I think it was in third or fourth grade; I barely went to school. Morer was about fifty years old, around the age of Brother Conde.


Over time, the Catholic Church's guidelines on addressing sexual abuse have evolved. Previously, some bishops, when faced with such cases, opted to relocate the implicated priests. For example, a bishop might transfer an abusive priest, mandate therapy, and show concern for rehabilitation, always prioritizing the victim's care and reparations. However, the contemporary Church perspective demands reporting these incidents to civil justice.

It's essential to observe how sexual crime cases are managed outside the ecclesiastical sphere. Many individuals convicted of these crimes, after a period in prison, are released and reoffend. Civil justice doesn't seem to have all the answers, and the solution isn't simply life imprisonment. Solely criminalizing the Church for problems that society also hasn't resolved is a biased view. Mutual collaboration is needed to address this complex issue.

The Value of Forgiveness: The concept of forgiveness, both from a human and divine perspective, is a cornerstone of the Church. It has guided many toward redemption and conversion, offering refuge in understanding a forgiving God.

Notable Cases within the Church:

  1. Gustavo Zanchetta: Despite accusations of pedophilia in Argentina, Pope Francis granted him diplomatic immunity by housing him in his own residence. Although he is now serving a 4-year sentence, he is allowed to do so at home due to health issues. The Vatican-appointed lawyer, reverend Javier Belda, was living with a woman and faces financial crime charges, further complicating the controversy.

  2. Germán Arana: While celibacy shouldn't be the central issue when talking about this type of abuse, there are priests like Arana, S.J. who have psychologically abused those under their care.

  3. Archbishop Aupetit of Paris: In 2021, accusations emerged about his possible intimate relationship with a woman and his authoritarian governance style. Despite admitting ambiguous behavior, he denied the allegations. Nonetheless, he resigned, and Pope Francis accepted his resignation. In November 2021, the weekly "Le Point" published an investigation into the archdiocese's governance and the prelate's private life. The article mentioned several resignations since the bishop's installation, particularly the two vicars general of the diocese, as well as his authoritarian methods. The weekly also evoked a possible intimate relationship that Michel Aupetit had with a woman in 2012. On November 25, he submitted his resignation in a letter to Pope Francis.

  4. Carlos Rey González: A member of Opus Dei and former captain auditor under Franco, he is known for drafting a death sentence for a Catalan anarchist based on questionable testimonies. Despite the statute of limitations, his history remains a point of debate in international justice.


Here we show articles about the initial complaints of the Mataró Marist case, which led to similar reports in other media using the same information:

2.- One more post will contain the following sections

Updates to this report can be pursued through its author at 

Niches #4 and #5 to follow this Post.




3.- About This Series of 5 Posts by our Team Member Journalist Jordi Picazo

On July 7th, I submitted a dossier to the Cremades - Calvo-Sotelo law firm, which I have titled "Five Nests of Crimes Related to Sexual Freedom and Integrity, as well as Evidence Pointing to Those Who Conceal Them." This compilation synthesizes my investigative work since 2019 on five cases that directly and markedly implicate Cardinal Juan José Omella. It's essential to note that the primary concealers of these crimes are Cardinal Archbishop of Barcelona, Juan José Omella, and his predecessor cardinals. Among them, the only living one is the emeritus Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, who, according to public sources and based on a study by Professor Rodríguez, is the utmost responsible party in this context. Also implicated in this veil of concealment is Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu, the Pope's delegate for pedophilia investigations, notably in Chile and recently in Peru.

It should be underscored that this situation doesn't astonish us. As I've reiterated on multiple occasions, "El País" newspaper includes these individuals in its list of concealers, both in an article published on its website and in a report personally delivered to Pope Francis at the Vatican by a reporter from the mentioned outlet. According to this information, Cardinal Omella himself is on that list. This information leads us to the unavoidable conclusion that, even though the current Pope is aware of the situation, no action has been taken. Within this context, it is particularly alarming that Omella continues to be Pope Francis's delegate in Spain, tasked with addressing this severe issue.

My aim isn't to be insular but the very opposite: to contribute, within my means, to thorough investigation. I aim to surpass the apparent hypocrisy of those who have entrusted this task to the Firm, suspecting that, swayed by certain sectarian interests, they might want to limit the investigation, especially due to media pressure from platforms like "Religión Digital." I provide in the webography section an extensive list of articles from "Religión Digital" attacking the Cremades - Calvo Sotelo Firm in a grotesque manner.

I'd like to emphasize that my work isn't a mere whim, as I face three trials in October. I've been sued by a young priest, involved in activities contradictory to his ordination and linked to the regular practice of wild sex, contemporaneously to his actions to enter the seminary, in gay sex exchange dens. I identify these with names, addresses, and social networks where information was exchanged post these acts. In this document, I discuss it and reproduce letters sent to the Nuncio, his bishop, and the Aragón abuse prevention office, since, ordained less than five years ago, he is in charge of children from 15 parishes in the Jaca region. There has been no response.

Despite my warnings and complaints to ecclesiastical authorities, including the Nuncio and the bishop, no action has been taken. My accounts have been precautionarily embargoed, and severe penalties have been proposed for alleged damages caused. Meanwhile, the priest in question continues to perform numerous ecclesiastical and public functions. I respect and adhere to the ethical codes of my profession; he, on the other hand, seems to have breached the Catholic Church's private regulations.

Despite the prosecutor's view that sees my actions as highlighting the Church's double standards without committing a crime, the judiciary has been less lenient. My professional, social, and family life has been adversely impacted, and my family's safety jeopardized. However, I remain steadfast in my desire to defend parents' rights to educate their children, the rights of the Catholic Church, and the integrity of my profession.

This document is thorough, and its table of contents is crucial to facilitate its reading. Its purpose is to highlight certain actions by Cardinal Archbishop of Barcelona, Juan José Omella, which could be subject to both civil and canonical complaints. My interest isn't derived from personal feelings towards the cardinal but a natural response to actions that harm individuals' life and integrity. I don't intend for this document to be interpreted as a formal complaint but rather as a means to shed light on what remains hidden. The ultimate goal is to thoroughly investigate these areas and determine any criminal responsibility of Cardinal Omella. While some lawyers might see these efforts as futile, I insist on the importance of unveiling the truth and demanding justice.

Jordi Picazo, BA (Hons), MA, PGCE, MCIJ

The list of previous posts on this report:

To be continued. 

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