RAMPANT LEGION OF CHRIST PEDOPHILE, JESÚS MARTÍNEZ PENILLA, WENT UNDETERRED FOR DECADES
ReGAIN comments: I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart (Romans 9,2)
Photo of Fr. Jesús Martínez (paternal) Penilla (maternal surname); because Martínez is such a common name in Spanish, he is known in the Legion and in his pastoral work as “Padre Penilla’.
They tell me Fr. Penilla is currently living at the Legion of Christ house for retired priests in Cancun, Avenida Bonampak 91, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Supposedly he is mentally ill. The Legion wants to protect him. He is another bomb, revealing their long history of cover-up regarding wide-spread sexual abuse in the ranks and among the faithful. Legion keeps him out of the public eye until he dies.
The last time Fr. Penilla was mentioned by the Legion of Christ was on the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination. The cover-up Legionary bishop of Cancun feted him on the occasion. At that time, the Scourge of the Legion of Christ, Father Pablo Pérez G., R.I.P.,
A principios de julio 2014, los legionarios de Maciel se ríen del Papa Francisco entonando un canto de albanza al sacerdote pederasta Jesús Martínez Penilla.
“In early July 2014, the Legionaries mocked Pope Francis singing the praises of pedophile priest, Jesús Martínez Penilla.”
Fr. Pablo Pérez, Scourge of the Legion of Christ, in Quintana Roo (Cancun, to you) called Penilla, the Pedophile of Isla Mujeres. Around the year 2014 Penilla was removed from Isla Mujeres and transferred to Cancun on the mainland. Fr. Pérez was incensed and published the article: “In Praise of the Isla Mujeres Pedophile”
The transfer and continued cover-up seems to be a common strategy in the Legion of Christ, morphed into Regnum Christi Federation:
- the abuser is immeditately sent away from the place he is abusing; to another country or continent;
- the victims are placated, bribed or silenced,
- there is no notification of local civil authorities, sometimes the Legion does not even inform Church authorities -only if necessary, “if convenient” .
- there is no serious independent psychological care for the victims
- there is no serious independent psychological care for the abuser
- Cover-up is the best policy
I was in very bad shape myself when I left the Legion of Christ Mission in Quintana Roo -you think Cancun- in 1984. I had to lick my own wounds after confronting Maciel in his home town of Cotija, Michoacán, Mexico and sought refuge in the Washington DC diocese.
Years later I learned about the Maciel scandal of him abusing his own seminarians. José Barba reached out to me and asked me whether I believed the victims’ story which had hit the headlines in the USA, thanks to the Hartford Courant on February 23, 1997. If that article had not appeared, Maciel’s “classical” victims would never have been heard about in the English-speaking world. The article had repercussions in the Mexican press too. I replied to José that, knowing deceitful and manipulative Maciel, I would not be surprised.
I got to know the ten-nine-eight survivors personally. I had known Juan José Vaca in the Legion. He was a supervisor of mine during my stint taking care of Mexican bishops during Vatican II, 1962-65 and later during my brief stay in Connecticut 1970-71. We respected each other and I heard his testimony of abuse first hand at an International Cultic Studies Association conference in Enfield, CT, in 2002. He told me about “el Padre Penilla” ( he is known in the Legion by his maternal cognomen).
Shortly after ordination, Juan José was assigned by Maciel to oversee the Legion’s junior seminary (Apostolic School) in Ontaneda, Santander, Spain. Several of the young – eleven to fifteen- year-old – Spanish boys at the Escuela Apostólica complained about Fr. Penilla sexually abusing those under his supervision. Juan José informed Maciel, Maciel dispatched Fr. Arumí, the rector in Salamanca, and Arumí sent Penilla immediately to Madrid, where Fr. Alfredo Torres, another Legionary, put Penilla on a plane to the city of Chetumal, Mexico. There he would be under the supervision of Monsignor Jorge Bernal, LC, who was the Catholic bishop of Quintana Roo, then a Mexican “territory”.[i]
Penilla would fade into the jungle undergrowth. When I got there shortly after that he was pastor of the parish of Isla Mujeres. I did not know about his background at that time and nobody in the Legion ever told me. Besides, I had known Penilla from the time I entered the Novitiate in Salamanca, Spain. He was the male nurse in the community. Fr. Rafael Arumí rector, superior and spiritual director – holding three offices in contravention of Canon Law- made me Penilla’s understudy. We took care of the brothers who would fall ill. I remember taking care of several of my Irish confreres who entered Salamanca in 1961 who had come down with a variety of ailments. I now know that many illnesses were psychosomatic. At that time I was just naïve Brother Pablo, being a good Legionary. Penilla, without any proper medical training -he was Maciel’s nurse too!- adminstered pills without consulting doctors.
He also gave injections when he thought it necessary: vitamin C and B12 were his favorites. I remember see phials of Largactil (Chlorpromatize) in the medicine cabinet. They must have been for Fr. Maciel and his plethora of complaints. Some of the injection were in the gluteus maximus. One victime told me that Penilla would take advantage of the unclothing to fondle the boys genitals. I forgot to mention that Penilla had been abused by Maciel! We know that Maciel’s original especialization was in the exploration of the genitalia of pubertal boys.
Back to Quintana Roo, Mexico. After many years of “ministry” in then very isolated Isla Mujeres[ii], Penilla was moved to the mainland: then capital city and bishop’s residence, Chetumal, on the border with Belize; he was assigned to an obscure town in the countryside, again as unsupervised pastor; he may have spent another period in Cozumel, and finally landed in Cancun as he got older.
Penilla’s unsupervised freedom in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and my later knowledge of the Ontaneda debacle through a bona fide eye-witness, has been a source of anguish for me for the past decades. I once tried to get a friend of mind on the ground in Chetumal to do something about it. But that was to no avail. I fell I was negligent and should have done more to stop Penilla -because I know that pedophiles don’t stop until they are stopped. One dissident Legionary, Fr. Pablo Pérez Guajardo, did all he could to name the sins and sinncers of the Legionaries on the Quintana Roo (you know it as Cancun) State Mission.
If my suspicions are true, I lament the plight of the many boys -and maybe girls and women- in my beloved Quintana Roo, who may have been abused by this Legionary of Christ. Heavenly Father, forgive my sins of negligence and omission and pour your healing balm on those who were abused. Above all, prevent the victims from becoming abusers.
Not every victim becomes a abuser.
But there is widespread lack of knowled in this regard. Some of the information smacks of old-wives-tales, simple ignorance, and machismo panic. What surpried me in the abstract below is the impact of “parental loss in childhood”. This lead me to reject the rational and existence of junior seminaries where children abandon their families of origin at the early age or ten or eleven. For me this is the equivalent of parental loss in childhood and it could be a factor in clergy sexual abuse. I am heartened by the Vatican’s intervention in the case of the Heralds of the Gospel, a conservative and old fashioned new religious order founded in Brazil and now widely spread. The order has been told to send all the children in their boarding schools to be sent back home. As their leaders have opposed the Vatican order, many parents have prevailed on local judges to intervene and demand compliance.
Here is the result of one psychological study:
Background: There is widespread belief in a ‘cycle’ of child sexual abuse, but little empirical evidence for this belief.
Aims: To identify perpetrators of such abuse who had been victims of pedophilia and/or incest, in order to: ascertain whether subjects who had been victims become perpetrators of such abuse; compare characteristics of those who had and had not been victims; and review psychodynamic ideas thought to underlie the behaviour of perpetrators.
Method: Retrospective clinical case note review of 843 subjects attending a specialist forensic psychotherapy centre.
Results: Among 747 males the risk of being a perpetrator was positively correlated with reported sexual abuse victim experiences. The overall rate of having been a victim was 35% for perpetrators and 11% for non-perpetrators. Of the 96 females, 43% had been victims but only one was a perpetrator. A high percentage of male subjects abused in childhood by a female relative became perpetrators. Having been a victim was a strong predictor of becoming a perpetrator, as was an index of parental loss in childhood.
Conclusions: The data support the notion of a victim-to-victimizer cycle in a minority of male perpetrators but not among the female victims studied. Sexual abuse by a female in childhood may be a risk factor for a cycle of abuse in males.
Spanish language article written by Fr. Pablo Pérez Guajardo in 2014. Fr. Pablo died prematurely a few years later after being silenced by acting Legionary bishop, Monsignor Pedro Pablo Elizondo.