The silenced child abuses in the Spanish Catholic Church

Country/area: Spain

Organisation: El País

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 03/04/2021

Credit: IÑIGO DOMÍNGUEZ, JULIO NÚÑEZ, DANIEL VERDÚ, Lucía Foraster Garriga, Paola Nagovitch, Maite Nieto


Iñigo Dominguez has been a journalist in EL PAÍS since 2015. Before that, he was a correspondent in Rome for El Correo and Vocento for almost 15 years. He is the author of Chronicles of the Mafia; its second part, Wild Paletos; and two other travel books and reports.

Daniele Verdú was born in Barcelona in 1980. He learned the trade in the Local Madrid section of El País. He went through the areas of Culture and Reports, from where he was also sent to various Islamist attacks in France or Fukushima. Today he is a correspondent in Rome and the Vatican.

Daniele Grasso currently coordinates the Data Journalism Unit at the Spanish leading newspaper, El País. He is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and he played a leading role in the Spanish chapters of cross-border investigations ‘Lux Leaks’, ‘Swiss Leaks’ and the Pulitzer winning investigation known as The Panama Papers.

Julio Nuñez, Lucía Foraster Garriga, Paola Nagovitch and Maite Nieto are reporters at the Society,Life and Health desk at El País.

Project description:

Over three years, a speacil team at El País investigated all the know and unknown sexual abuses that took place in the Spanish Catholic Church. While the authorities did not took action after the victims’ complaints, neither decided to investigate as it was done in countries like the US or France, we managed to quantify and shed light on the issue: 602 cases and more than 1230 victims.

Impact reached:

The Vatican agreed to start investigating the cases, while the Spanish Church Authorities (‘Conferencia Episcopal Español’) it’s currently under a lot of pressure to start itw own internal review. 

Techniques/technologies used:

Google Spreadsheets, Datawrapper

What was the hardest part of this project?

To find and verify every case already published in the Spanish press; to analyze and verify all the information received through an anonimous mailbox. 

What can others learn from this project?

How to manage information gathered from thousand of different people -and how to let them agree to make their cases public.

Project links: