Benítez accuses Maristes of knowing of abuse since 1986

The former gymnastics teacher at the Maristes school in Sants-Les Corts, Joaquim Benítez, on trial for having sexually abused four children, said yesterday that both the school’s management and the provincial priest of the Maristes religious order knew that he had sexually abused at least one underage student since 1986.

During the trial, Benítez explained that despite warning him that if he abused a minor again he would be fired, the Maristes did not prosecute or punish him in any way. And he never was fired, leaving voluntarily in 2011 as a result of another case that did come to the attention of the prosecutor. According to Benítez, the fact that the school’s management did nothing against him meant that for many years “he was not afraid” and felt in a certain way “protected” by them.

Benítez, who is being tried for only four cases of abuse despite there being more complaints against him, yesterday only admitted two of the counts. Of the other two, one he claimed not to remember and the other he completely denied. He admitted that he took the teenagers to his office and there, as the victims reported, touched their genitals and committed fellatio on them. His justification was that he had suffered abuse himself as a child.

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