Spain's Stolen-Babies Scandal: Empty Graves and a Silent Nun
The elderly woman who left Madrid's courthouse on Thursday morning looked stooped and ghostly, but neither her obvious frailty nor the plain blue habit she wore kept the small crowd of onlookers from screaming at her. "Shameless!" one woman shouted. "How could you cause so much suffering?"
Thursday was supposed to be the day that began to bring resolution to those who believe themselves victims of decades of baby robbing in Spain. The nun called to testify, Sister María Gómez Valbuena, is the first person indicted for her alleged involvement in a scheme that supposedly saw thousands of newborns taken from their mothers and sold to adoptive parents. But once in front of the judge, Gómez Valbuena exercised her right to remain silent. And later that day at a meeting with representatives of victims' associations, Spanish government officials admitted that, although they would dedicate administrative resources to attempting to reunite mothers and children, the chances of bringing to justice those who had separated the families were slim.
Some 1,500 accusations of baby stealing, dating from the late 1950s until the mid-'80s, have been filed in Spain in the past year or two.
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