Legionaries’ Paradise, Part 2: The Pedophiles
Four minor seminarians, 11-14 years old, reach out to Fr. Juan José Vaca, who has just come to the seminary in Ontaneda, Cantabria, Spain, as their new spiritual director. They reveal to him that Fr. Jesús Martínez-Penilla, the rector, had taken them to bed to masturbate them. Their stories implied that the abuses had been going on for two or three months.
As a good Legionary, Fr. Vaca called Fr. Maciel immediately. “Don’t worry, Juan José. Talk with those junior seminarians and calm them down. Tell them not to tell their parents.”
Within three hours Martínez-Penilla was on the train to Madrid. From there he flew to Mexico City and immediately headed for Chetumal where Monsignor Jorge Bernal, the Legionary of Christ apostolic delegate of the prelature, appointed by Marcial Maciel, was waiting to give him his next appointment, the Parish of Isla Mujeres.
Thousands of miles away from his victims, Martínez-Penilla was front line in all the most important religious celebrations of the Prelature. On March 19th, 1974 he accompanied Bishop Bernal through the streets of Chetumal as Bernal was consecrated bishop head of the Chetumal Prelature. Four other bishops follow in procession behind the newly consecrated bishop.
Martínez-Penilla continued his ecclesiastical career in the prelature as a pastor. The church directory of 1991 has him as pastor of the St Joachim Parish, Bacalar, Quintana Roo. In 2007 he is pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in José María Morelos township.
In the Anniversary brochure published by the prelature in 2010, “Fr. Penilla” appears surrounded by the parish leadership group at Immaculate Conception parish in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
In his deposition as part of initial investigation into sexual abuse of children at the Legion’s Instituto Cumbres, Mr. Villafuerte accuses Legionary of Christ, Eduardo Lucatero Alvarez of “having known the facts and having limited himself to terminating a predatory gym instructor at the Instituto Cumbres in Mexico City”. Lucatero was accused of advising the abuser’s family to leave the country because he was going to have problems. According to Villafuerte, the gym instructor was not the only abuser in the school; he names Guillermo Romo, Francisco Rivas and Alfonso NJ, other Cumbres employees of ‘touching children.”
“He also knows and saw that sometimes the assistant principal, called Eduardo Lucatero, LC, was hearing the boys’ confessions; that said person also took the little girls, the boys’ sisters, and caressed their intimate parts obscenely.” But when the case came to court Fr. Lucatero was only sentenced for covering up the abuse.
Before going to legal authorities, one of the victim’s mother approached the Instituto Cumbres administration directly. It was a huge mistake. “My life turned upside down. I lost my work because of them. I lost my lifelong friends. I lost my condominium, and overnight I was swallowed up by a huge hole in the ground. They are very powerful people. They threatened me. They tried to ride me off the beltway (periférico) more than once with a Mustang to frighten me out of going to court.”
Lucatero-Álvarez also ended up in the Chetumal (now Cancun-Chetumal) Prelature where his presence was never hidden. On the inside back page overlap of A Missionary Church he can be seen in the second row of active clergy, vested in priestly robes and in a prayerful posture. The group is headed by the present bishop of the Prelature, Monsignor Pedro Pablo Elizondo, another Maciel appointee.
The brochure describes Lucatero-Álvarez as belonging to Holy Trinity Parish in Cancun. On page 85 he appears in a group of twenty posing in front of the Cancun cathedral church. He is tall, with glasses, wearing a white guayabera and a cross on his chest, smiling.
The Prelature’s 2014 church directory describes him as a religious (LC) priest, head of the Doctrine of the Faith in the office for Prophetic Pastoral Ministry. In other words, he is in charge of protecting the discipline and dogmas of the Catolic Church in Quintana Roo state, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.