An 80-year-old nun has been accused of baby snatching in the scandal over the trafficking of newborns in Spanish hospitals, the Guardian reports.
Sister María Gómez is the first person to be formally indicted in the investigation into one of more than 1,500 cases of suspected illegal trafficking of babies who were stolen, sold or given away by adoption between the 1950s and 1980s.
Although the nun’s name appears in many of the complaints made by those seeking lost children, the accusation centers on the case of María Luisa Torres and her now-29-year-old daughter, Pilar. Gómez allegedly told Torres, a single mother, she would keep Pilar in an orphanage till Torres could take care of her, but then gave her away to another family, and threatened to take away Torres’ second daughter as well if she complained.
They were reunited eight months ago after families affected by the trafficking began campaigning for the truth.
Gómez, who has been subpoenaed by the Madrid public prosecutor, has refused to answer questions, according to El Pais.
While the justice ministry and the attorney general’s office have said resolving the scandal is a priority, victims complain most cases are eventually shelved.
Campaigners are claiming that networks of doctors, nurses and nuns who stole and sometimes sold babies were allowed to operate freely in many parts of Spain up until the early 1980s in what began as a system for removing babies from families deemed politically dangerous by General Franco’s government.