A FORMER priest who was arrested on suspicion of child corruption has been refused bail by the Court of Instruction number 1 in Gijón, northern Spain.
The court agreed to the measure following demands from the Prosecutor’s Office, which requested that the priest be placed in a provisional prison, considering him a flight risk, and worries over criminal repetition and destruction of evidence. The former priest Jesús María Menéndez, also known as Father Chus, was expelled from the clergy in 2015 for allegedly sexually abusing 17-year-old adolescents. He was taken into custody on Thursday, November 11, from his home on Donato Argüelles street, in *Gijon.
Police officers carried out a search of the accused home but would not say if they found any evidence that would incriminate him. Sexual relations in Spain are legal (if consensual) from the age of 16. However, Church regulations state that if it occurs before the age of 18 it is a crime.
Father Chus published an open letter in which he expressed his “pain and sadness at being so unjustly condemned.” Menéndez regretted his helplessness by not having been able to provide the testimonies of the people whom, as he explained, he had helped and with whom he had shared “a roof and tablecloth, but no bed”, and “who would undoubtedly assert the falsehood of the very serious accusations. ” However, all the complaints against him were later shelved.
His lawyer, Javier Dapena, pointed out that his client had answered all the questions asked of him by Judge Carolina Montero Trabanco, saying that “it is to be expected that someone after spending two nights in jail does not have the best presence of mind.” Two priests and one of Father Chus’s former roommates were waiting around the Palace of Justice.
*Gijón is a large coastal city in northern Spain