Sister María Gómez named as suspect in one of more
than 1,500 cases of suspected trafficking of babies from hospitals
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An 80-year-old nun has become the first person to be accused
of baby snatching in the scandal over the trafficking of newborns
in Spanish hospitals.
Although the nun's name appears in many of the complaints
made by those seeking lost children, the accusation centres
on a single case involving María Luisa Torres and
her 29-year-old daughter, Pilar.
They were reunited eight months ago after families affected
by the trafficking began campaigning for the truth.
The nun, who worked with two Madrid clinics in the 1970s and 80s,
had placed ads in local newspapers offering to help single mothers.
Torres said Gómez promised to put the baby in an orphanage
where she could visit her until she was able to look after the
child herself. But after the birth Gómez told her the baby had
been given to another family.
When Torres complained, the nun allegedly threatened to denounce her
for the crime of infidelity and have her other daughter,
born to her first husband, taken away.
"Her words were: 'I'm taking this one away and I can take the other one too.
And then you'll go to jail,'" Torres told Antena 3 television.
Pilar's adopted parents took her to see Gómez when she began
to ask after her birth mother. The nun allegedly told them
Pilar's mother had been a prostitute.
Last year, as hundreds of alleged cases of baby snatching began
to emerge, Torres's other two daughters set out to find their lost sister.
In July a TV programme put the families in contact and paid for DNA tests.
In at least three cases that remain open, graves have been opened
and found to be empty.
A campaign that started with an alleged 261 victims in January 2011
has since seen more than 1,500 complaints lodged at court houses
around the country.
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