The conclusions of a committee created by the Montserrat Monastery to look into allegations regarding Andreu Soler, who was in charge of the religious scout movement for forty years, say that the monk was a ‘sexual predator and paedophile.’
The findings, which relate to incidents that took place between 1972 and 2000 involving the 12 complainants that have come forward, will be sent to the public prosecutor’s office, the Ombudsman and relevant religious authorities. Montserrat spokesperson Bernat Juliol has stated that he regrets these occurrences and the pain they have caused.
Father abbot Josep Maria Soler, who sent Andreu Soler to another monastery in which he no longer had contact with minors in 2000, told the committee that if these events had happened now, he would have ‘acted differently’, and in a more ‘firm manner’.
The committee found that Andreu Soler would often try to gain a child’s confidence slowly, though there were also instances in which he was outright violent with children he knew and others he did not know. Some were abused on multiple occasions while for others it only happened once, and there were also a few cases of children that managed to escape.
All of the now-adults who have come forward have highlighted the ‘inerasable’ emotional and psychological damage brought on by the monk’s abuse.
Father abbot Josep Maria Soler is expected to once again apologise publicly at this Sunday’s homily for the actions of Andreu Soler, who died in 2008.
The committee also found that another monk, Valentí Torra, who was in charge of the monastery’s boys’ choir, was behind two known instances of abuse that took place between 1964 and 1968.
The then-father abbot heard of the case, and after meeting with parents of the victims and some of the older boys, sent him abroad. Upon his return, he was forbidden from being around minors.
The elderly monk left the monastery in the 1980s, but was still interviewed by the committee, who said he expressed remorse for actions, unlike Andreu Soler.
The Monsterrat committee looking into these abuses was put together as a result of the public accusations made by Miguel Hurtado, who said in late January 2019 that he was abused by the Montserrat monastery monk as a child in the 1990s when he was part of the monastery scouts.
Hurtado said that the institution had ‘covered up’ the events and they only paid him 8,600 euros for therapy costs when he confronted the monastery about it in 1998 at the age of 17.