“My brother will never return to Spain alive,” says the brother of the Motril priest arrested on paedophile charges in Venezuela. These words were offered by José Raúl Merino, who is the elder brother and a lawyer.
The family in Motril is living a nightmare, he explained, adding that they are upset by the treatment the Venezuelan police and media, both there and here in Spain, because nobody is “respecting the presumption of innocence,” including the Catholic Church or the Venezuelan Government.
The 35-year-old priest could be facing ten years’ imprisonment if found guilty, but the fact is that he has already confessed. The girl also confirmed that the priest began abusing here in 2015, when she was only nine.
The Venezuelan programme that has been covering the case says that the Secretario de Gobierno, Lisandro Cabello, has confirmed that there had been “penetration” and that the investigation would continue to see if there have been other victims.
The same government official, Lisandro Cabello, claims that the priest was sent to Venezuela as punishment following other reports on pedophile activity.
The order to which he belongs, Los Agustinos Recoletos, have begged forgiveness from the family, from the Church Itself and from the whole of society. But they also declare that it absolutely false that he was sent out from Spain under the shadow of suspected paedophile activity.
“They took him out of his cell and sat him down, handcuffed, in front of the whole press during a press call, showing him off as if he were a hunting trophy,” complained the brother, lawyer by profession, and pointed out that the Venezuelan Government “doesn’t like priests.”
The brother says that the confession in front of the cameras is not valid as it was done under pressure and asked if it is normal that such a confession should be filtered to the press. For these reason he is going to report these abuses.
He summed up his brother’s situation: “He’s a priest in a country where they don’t like them, charged with being a paedophile and housed in an overcrowded prison where there are no separate wings; i.e., all the prisoners are mixed together…. he won’t get out of there alive….”
(News: Motril, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)