“We are going to make a Spanish model. That is, a hybrid model with German methodology, learning the positive aspects of the French model, but connecting with the work carried out for years by the offices of the dioceses of Spain,” Cremades said.
The team conducting the investigation will include several former magistrates of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court of Spain, together with two members of the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl law firm that conducted a high-profile study of the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, who will travel to Madrid once a month.
In addition to a comprehensive report, the investigation is expected to open an independent channel to receive potential complaints and recommend further preventative measures.
The announcement of the audit came as three proposals for the creation of commissions to investigate cases of sexual abuse committed by members of the Church were under consideration in Spain.
The first proposal was presented by Podemos, a left-wing party that is part of the governing coalition, as well the Catalan and Basque nationalist parties, the Republican Left of Catalonia and the EH Bildu.
The proposal was admitted for debate in the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of Spain’s parliament, on Feb. 1. The People’s Party and Vox party both voted against the proposal and asked that the commission be broader, to include sex abuse cases that occur outside of the Catholic Church.
Spain’s Attorney General Dolores Delgado requested that the 17 head prosecutors of the country’s autonomous regional governments remit all open criminal proceedings for sexual abuse committed by members of the Church and other religious groups.
The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) introduced a proposal on Feb. 7 in the Congress of Deputies for the investigative commission to be led by the People’s Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo.
Cremades said at the press conference that his firm’s independent investigation would be conducted in collaboration with the government. He added that after he accepted the commission from the Spanish bishops’ conference, he had contacted Gabilondo.
“This is not an alternative but a complement. So that, in a professional manner, in a certified manner, there is no doubt that there may be any manipulation of the investigation by the Church, by public powers or by a third party,” Cremades said.
“There is a genuine interest in the truth and anyone who can contribute to clarify what happened, to clarify and prevent it in the future will be fundamental in this matter, which is not only of the Catholic Church, but is a wound of the whole society,” he said.
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