Argentinian Jesuits ignored abuse victim

A woman reports that a priest raped and impregnated her when she was 15 years old

She was in Resistencia, Chaco. The accused died in 2012 and was a Jesuit. The victim had a life marked by trauma. Negotiations with the Society of Jesus to obtain reparation were suspended by letter document.

They called Cristina Grillito when she was a teenager, because she was petite and dark. "She wasn't even developed," she explains. She lived in Resistencia, in a family with nine children, a police officer father and a very Catholic mother.

In 1982 she was going to turn 15 and was preparing with a group of girls her age for the traditional White Mass. For this reason, she frequented the San Javier church and received guidance from Father Mario, who gave them catechism. But the priest went further: she talked to them about her future as adult women, about motherhood, about periods, about how to prepare for sexual relations. He could interpret that he was an open-minded and modern man and wanted to guide them, but his intentions were different.

He had his cassock on and started kissing me all over.

The White Mass that year did not take place. The Malvinas War broke out and many of the city's boys were taken to fight. Among them, Cristina's brother. Her mother was devastated, the news was received with intense pain.

Two days later, on April 4, Father Mario told her that she should go see him at nap time. She believed that he did it to comfort her because of her deep anguish. But he told her that he "was going to prepare her for what was going to happen to her when she grew up." That what he was going to do to her was "an initiation."

"He had his cassock on and started kissing me everywhere. He opened it, undressed me. He took out his organ and put it in my mouth. He told me he was making love to me. When it was all over, he told me to run away home and to take a bath. Also to not say anything to anyone," Cristina, 50 years old, is outraged.

The priest continued to summon her at the same time, until May 22. Cristina has everything marked on a calendar. "She made me go and continued to abuse me. Everything got worse, she treated me as if I were an experienced adult, penetrating me from all sides. I couldn't tell anyone."

There is silence. "I can't understand why I kept going, why I obeyed... He was 40 years old and he was waiting for me naked under his cassock. He closed all the doors of the Church nave and did it to me on a bench, in the floor, where they put the chalice".

Exile and shame

When one of her mother found out that she was pregnant, she beat him badly. "You are the shame of the family. First the suffering because your brother went to war and now this." She wanted to know who the father of the baby was, but Cristina did not open her mouth. "I couldn't tell him that the pregnancy was the priest's. Besides, he wouldn't have believed me," she explains.

She endured exile to the countryside until giving birth and being kicked out of the house after having her baby.

"If you could get pregnant, you can work and finish studying alone," was the sentence. She continued to remain silent. "I always had a lot of respect for my mother. I never had the impulse to tell the truth until she was very old. Plus, my dad was a police officer, my brothers were military."

I kept quiet all these years and that destroyed my life.

Cristina spent time at a friends house, then she wandered around the city and was kidnapped by a trafficking network that took her to Rosario to exploit her. "I had to serve 7 to 10 guys a day. Luckily I was able to escape," she continues.

She graduated as a nurse and managed to get a job, but she was never able to start a family. Her first daughter disowns her and demands that she tell her who her father is. She had a son from a couple that lasted a sigh. "Because of my trauma, because I always have the rape in my head," she laments.

The marks of her abuse were felt in her health: she had uterine cancer that left her sterile at age 30 and then a heart attack, which prevented her from working.

Without repair

After watching the movie Spotlight, about sexual abuse committed by pedophile priests in the diocese of Boston, she decided to write a letter about her case that she sent to Pope Francis and a multitude of recipients in the Vatican and around the world. . She was guided by SNAP, the international group for survivors of religious sexual abuse. Finally, she contacted the Argentine Abuse Survivors network.

His attempts had results. She was summoned to a meeting at the Cathedral of Resistance. They told me that the Church had no obligation to help me, but that they would because "I was destitute and could die in the process" because of my illness. Cristina received social housing and a disability pension from the provincial state, two benefits that corresponded to her, but the church told her that it had been "thanks to her contacts" because otherwise "they were not going to give them to her." .

They asked her the same things a thousand times and once they certified that Father Mario was a Jesuit, they referred her to the Society of Jesus to ask for compensation for what she suffered.

"I kept quiet all these years and that destroyed my life. Everything that happened to me, the illnesses, the inability to fall in love is because of that. I deserve reparation," she insists.

A lawyer from the diocese mistreated her: "You want her five minutes of fame. Now it is fashionable to denounce priests. I suggest you go and pray a lot, ask God for forgiveness." "I answered that I was not going to pray, because from the moment Father Mario raped me I am no longer Catholic."

The rest of the girls who were preparing with her for the White Mass were also abused. "But they didn't get pregnant. They had children and they are grandmothers, they don't want to talk..." Cristina understands them. She also doesn't dare give her real name and, even today, she is terrified of the scandal.

Her abuser, Luxorio Ruiz Bilbao, died in 2012. He was indeed a Jesuit. Cristina has just received a document letter from the order in which they inform her that they are suspending a dialogue table that was going to be held in Resistencia: "It is premature to make a transfer to the Province of Chaco due to uncertain and unsupported motivations," they say to her.

Network Support

"Cristina's case falls within the same relationship of abuse of power as the rest of the victims of pedophile priests, who have the support of the religious institution, either with their silence or with their cover-up," says lawyer Carlos Lombardi, of the Ecclesiastical Sexual Abuse Survivors Network.

"In particular, not only was she abused but she became pregnant. Like any victim of abuse, she had the same psychological obstacles to making her problem visible. And when she did, it was too late for a criminal case because the culprit had died." , go on.

According to Lombardi, the claim to the Catholic bishop and then to the Society of Jesus "although it was heard, it has not been resolved in the best way." Briefly, he was informed that the requested claim for economic compensation "would eventually be evaluated."



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