Nun Accused of Stealing Babies Declines to Testify in Court

Sister María Gómez Valbuena
Sister María Gómez Valbuena leaving Madrid Trial Court 47 after declining to testify. Photo by Cristóbal Manuel.

Mothers of Stolen Children
Those affected by the theft of children spent the night in front of the Sisters of Charity’s school where the accused nun lives holding yellow candles and cards with their petitions.

Nun Accused of Stealing Babies Declines to Testify in Court
Sister María Gómez Valbuena is still charged with illegal custody
Tomorrow, the judge will call for testimony from the adoptive parents of the daughter who was supposedly robbed

El País: La monja acusada del robo de bebés se niega a declarar ante el juez
Natalia Junquera reporting from Madrid April 12, 2012

Sister María Gómez Valbuena declined to testify before a judge about her supposed involvement in a case of baby theft.  She is still charged with illegal custody, the charge about which she was called to testify today. Judge Adolfo Carretero said he will call the adoptive parents to testify tomorrow about their supposedly stolen daughter. The nun is the first person to be directly accused after 1500 denouncements were made all around Spain by mothers who believe their children were stolen after birth.

Gómez Valbuena, wearing the habit of the Daughters of Charity, arrived at Madrid Trial Court 47 a little after eight, an hour and a half before her appointed time, accompanied by another religious from her congregation. She attempted – successfully, when she entered – to avoid the multitude of media members waiting for her, many of them from abroad. After availing her right to not testify before the judge, she left through a side entrance, the one used for night court, escorted by several members of the municipal police, but she could not avoid the media then.

Nor could she avoid the other mothers accusing her of robbing their babies; when they saw her, they shouted, “Shameless!” and “We want to see your face!” while Sister María entered a black all-terrain Mercedes Benz with tinted windows in order to depart the judicial premises.

The nun, who is 80 years old, has contracted the services of José María Calero Martínez, the lawyer for the parents of murdered minor Marta del Castillo. The Madrid District Attorney’s Office called her to testify after she was accused, and she declined to speak then, as well. Dozens of mothers who are seeking their children and who have seen their cases put in the archives of DA’s Offices around the country for lack of evidence have put all their hopes on Sister María telling the judge what she did and what she knows.

The case for which the judge called the nun forward as defendant is that of María Luisa Torres, who gave birth to a daughter, Pilar, in the Saint Cristina of Madrid clinic in 1982. She claimed that Sister María seized the child and threatened she would take the mother’s other daughter, as well, “because of your adultery”. Thanks to the help of Pilar’s adoptive father, the mother and daughter were able to reunite last year, 29 years after the birth. Last week, both testified to the same judge that interrogated Sister María today. “If she doesn’t pay in this life, she will pay in the next one,” Pilar said about the religious before she entered the court. “She deserves the highest punishment,” Pilar’s mother added.

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