The media had details of the anonymous allegations email before the chief prosecutor was even informed
The chief prosecutor of Las Palmas, Beatriz Sánchez, has been critical that the Ministry of Social Rights did not inform the Prosecutor’s Office that alleged sexual abuse had been reported to have taken place in a reception centre for migrant minors on the south of Gran Canaria. Sánchez said in a radio interview that she regretted “having found out from the media” and not from the Government of the Canary Islands. The general director of Child and Family Protection, Iratxe Serrano, this Wednesday on radio station Cadena SER defended the decision, saying that there was no “basis for reporting,” since her department learned of the alleged events through an anonymous report, received by email on the night of May 31. “The alarms went off, but we put this email in quarantine because no one identified himself,” said Serrano.
The following day, the Government of the Canary Islands opened an investigation and began an inspection. On June 10, two technicians from the General Directorate appeared at the centre, but could not verify the any of the events reported. Despite this, they did identify important shortcomings at the resource, mainly due to the previous altercations that have occurred there causing material damage. “The facility is not friendly at all and has an important occupation,” acknowledged the general director.
The document, purportedly sent by the workers at the centre to both Social Rights and the Mogán Town Council, warned that there had been alleged sexual abuse of a minor in the centre by other users of legal age who were pending transfer to a resource for adults. The text stated that three other users had practiced prostitution “inside and outside” the establishment.
To date no direct evidence of the allegations has been revealed, nor have there been any clues to the identity of the authors. Investigators are expected to verify exactly what happened, when, and who was involved, before they can confirm whether or not any crimes have actually been committed.
Noemí Santana’s Ministry has nevertheless decided to officially bring forward the closure of this emergency centre, managed by the Social Response Foundation Siglo XXI, which was installed last September in a tourism apartment complex, on the south of Gran Canaria, closed due to the pandemic.
The cessation of activity “cannot be immediate” because there is no resource to refer all the users to. However, it is expected to stop operating in July. Serrano has ensured that this June 15, 43 minors have been immediately transferred, to go to live in other resources. “What can be done will be done as soon as possible. The closure was scheduled for August 31 and has been brought forward to July 15.”