MEXICO CITY (AP) - A Mexican lawyer said Monday he has resigned from handling the case of a woman and her sons who claim the males were sexually abused as boys by the founder of a conservative Roman Catholic religious order.
Lawyer Jose Bonilla said he and a team of other lawyers who had represented the family would no longer do so, after one of the sons acknowledged he had asked the order for $26 million to keep quiet about the case.
"I know they were sexually abused by their father. This is a truly grave, lamentable situation," Bonilla said. "I always told them ... that they have a right to damages for moral and sexual abuse, but they have absolutely no right to ask for money from anybody in exchange for their silence."
While saying his team could not be part of that, Bonilla said of
the family, "I wish them well in this fight with all my heart."
The case involves the Rev. Marcial Maciel, the deceased founder
of the Legionaries of Christ.
The mother, Blanca Lara Gutierrez, alleges Maciel maintained a
long relationship with her under a false identity, fathering two
sons and adopting a third. She says he abused two of the boys.
One of her sons, Jose Raul Gonzalez, told a radio station last
week that he asked the Legionaries of Christ for $26 million
because Maciel had promised him and his two brothers a trust fund
when he died and as financial compensation for the alleged sexual
Gonzalez's mother had told her story earlier in the week to MVS
Radio. Her charge was the most damaging yet against Maciel, who
before his death had been the subject of a Vatican probe into
multiple allegations he sexually abused seminarians.
Legion leaders last year acknowledged that Maciel had a daughter
in Spain, but they have not directly accepted allegations by
several seminarians that he molested them.
Maciel died in 2008 at age 87, more than a year after Pope
Benedict XVI disciplined the ailing priest by sending him to "a
reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing every public
Lara Gutierrez said she was 19 when she met Maciel, then 56, who
she said passed himself off as "Jose Rivas," an employee of an
international oil company, a private investigator and a CIA agent.
She said she didn't discover his real identity until 1997, when
she saw a magazine article about previous allegations against the
The family's accusations could not be independently verified,
but the order took them seriously enough to acknowledge several
meetings with Gutierrez.
Founded by Maciel in 1941, the Legion became one of the most
influential and fastest-growing orders in the Roman Catholic
Church. The order says it has more than 800 priests and 2,500
seminarians worldwide, along with 50,000 members of the associated
lay group Regnum Christi.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)