ODI denounces network of child sexual abuse at schools in at least 7 Mexican states

The sentence of 15 years in prison was established by the First Judge of Control of the Fifth Judicial District, based in Valladolid. Photo: (Vanguardia)

The report on child sexual exploitation in schools, prepared by the Office for the Defense of Children’s Rights, AC (ODI), these type of cases have been litigated in at least 18 schools.

Mèrida, Yucatàn, (June 01, 2021).- In public and private schools of at least seven states throughout the country, criminal groups engaged in organized sexual exploitation of children have operated with impunity. Teachers, managers, administrative staff, and school principals have participated, and in some cases, they have abused children themselves, on and off-campus, while in many other cases, the abuses have been videotaped for online pornography purposes.

According to the report “The sexual exploitation of children in schools”, prepared by the Office for the Defense of Children’s Rights, AC ( ODI ), which has accompanied and litigated cases of this type in at least 18 schools, “is about criminal patterns marked by actions organized and perpetrated on a massive scale within a school campus ”.

The states where these cases have been documented and litigated are Mexico City, State of Mexico, Jalisco, Baja California, Morelos, San Luis Potosí, and Oaxaca. However, the report refers to one hundred more cases in which there were complaints of abuse of minors in schools, but it is unknown if there were detainees, if they continue to be investigated or if they went unpunished.

The ODI has documented over the last two decades, cases involving more than one hundred minors throughout Mexico. The report indicates: “Numerous preschool and elementary schools have been taken by this network, and used as spaces for the commission of crimes of child sexual exploitation online.”

The document, coordinated by professor Margarita Griesbach Guizar and presented by academics and activists Karina Ansolabehere, Maite Azuela, Lydia Cacho, Denise Dresser, Manuel Gil Antón, José Guevara, Lorenzo Meyer, Juan Martín Pérez, and Luis Daniel Vázquez, refers in detail a problem of greater dimensions in terms of child sexual exploitation, pedophilia, and pornography in public and private schools in Mexico.

The narrative of what is hidden in the classrooms, in the patios, in the offices of the principals of schools across the country is that: “Consistently, boys and girls describe being penetrated with water syringes, with straws or with dirty papers, even stained with excrement ”.

They also describe being hanged or forced to hurt other classmates; furthermore, “boys and girls report being recorded or photographed”.

The material produced by criminal gangs, qualified as teachers, was never found nor was it investigated – by the then Attorney General’s Office (PGR) – those who work or finance the child pornography network.

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Studying with the enemy

At the Andrés Oscoy Kindergarten, in Iztapalapa, parents, and neighbors never imagined the terror that hundreds of little children experienced for years.

Only 30 families reported. In 2011, the PGR contacted the ODI to request legal support for the victims, all between three and five years old.

“From the testimonies of 19 boys and girls between three and five years old, it is detected that they name 10 people as direct aggressors, which include the school principal of the campus, teachers, quartermaster staff, and even the adolescent son of one of the teachers”.

The preschoolers’ narratives about the hell they lived show that the attacks were recorded in various places on the campus. “Most of the boys and girls report that they were attacked in a bathroom. However, others mention the management office and a “drainage room”, as well as open places, such as the patio or the schoolyard.

For months or years, no one at the Ministry of Public Education ( SEP ) found out what was happening in this school, nor did they investigate or question whether 10 of its officials were engaged in child sexual exploitation.

At least 13 of the children report acts that go from touching to rape. Three of them describe having suffered rape, 11 say they have been beaten, some say that adults exhibited themselves before the students or that they exhibited aggression against a small child in front of the group. Several of them describe sexual acts between adults while they were being abused.

“Among the victims’ accusations, some refer to being tied up or gagged and a girl claims to have bled. In addition to high levels of violence, the victims refer to grotesque dynamics and rituals ”, which were passed off as games.

The “Case A”: rituals, games and impunity

In 2008, the ODI represented the case of a five-year-old girl for sexual abuse in a private preschool, which for the safety of the victims and because the information is not public, the report refers to it as “Case A”.

“The little girl mentions up to six adults involved (…) and refers that the abuse is committed against her along with other classmates. It describes ritualistic practices, the use of costumes and staging ”. The narrative of the case is just outrageous.

Without any kind of formalities, control of the campus entrances, or surveillance by the SEP authorities, the girl was taken out of the school in a car and taken with other classmates to a house where there were other adults. The minor described sedation events and on at least one occasion referred to the presence of babies as victims of abuse.

The case did not go to trial. Reckless or deliberate leaks from the then Federal District Attorney’s Office forced the family to desist from reporting for fear of reprisals. These are not isolated cases.

The way these child sexual exploitation groups operate is repeated in different locations throughout the country. In 2011, the ODI received numerous complaints of sexual abuse at the Laura Elena Arce Cavazos public preschool, in Cuautitlán, State of Mexico. Before the Mexican attorney general’s office, six adults were accused as aggressors of children.

“They describe being victimized in various spaces of the school.” They are the criminal bosses, with unprecedented fury. Three children show cuts on their legs that they say were inflicted by a teacher with a knife during the assault. While three of the 10 victims described that there were people taking photographs or video during the attack.

Hell in Mexico City classrooms

In the “Innovative City of Rights” that the capital government boasts, the cases, the stories, and the terror for children are repeated. In 2018, the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) contacted the ODI to attend to the case of a public preschool in the country’s capital. As it is an investigation that is still active, it is only identified in the report as “School B”.

Again, massive abuse in broad daylight, on the schoolyard, in the bathroom,s or classrooms; 16 children described more than one adult present at the time of the abuse.

In total, 11 adults who work at the school are mentioned, including the school principal, several teachers, administrative staff, and paradoxically, even a pedagogical supervisor. All of them, employees of the Public Education Secretariat (SEP); altogether, abusing minors between the ages of three and five.

The trafficking of children transferred from one school to another or private homes is mentioned as a common practice of these groups. Two minors stated that boys and girls who were not from their school were present at the time of the attack. A dozen children, as in other cases, refer to how they were taken out of school, put into cars, and taken to houses where they were abused.

In the case of “School B”, the minors “report being forced to touch other boys and girls, physical attacks, and witness the exhibition of an adult in front of the group. In many cases, the victims have mentioned that they were forced to observe sexual acts between two or more adults ”.

Also in this case four minors describe the presence of cameras.

“Although this data may not be relevant for the child who lacks understanding of issues of digital sexual exploitation, it is an extremely important element to understand possible explanations of what is happening,” adds the report.

Online ordering of child sexual exploitation and abuse footage and photographic material implies that the perpetrator requesting and directing the act is physically distant from the victims. The material is commonly consumed online at home and in a country other than the place where the abuse takes place.

Either through direct contact with the sexual offender or an intermediary, the perpetrator indicates what acts he wants to be produced by the offender or the offenders in contact with the minors. Child sexual abuse is commonly streamed live via encrypted commercial social networks.

In addition to these cases, the report documents others that occurred from 2001 to date in schools in Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Jalisco, Baja California, Oaxaca, Morelos and San Luis Potosí, which could involve a much greater number of victims. and where it is unknown if the teachers and those involved were sentenced or are free teaching.

Margarita Griesbach Guizar, director of the Office for the Defense of Children’s Rights, AC, mentioned to EL UNIVERSAL that in Mexico, in this type of case, the disarticulation between police and prosecutors prevails, the lack of preservation of evidence; there is no criminal investigation, there are leaks from prosecutors, fragmentation of the investigation, inadequate for children and exclusion of the victim.

“I cannot say if it is one network, many networks, or simply a new modus operandi of a new form of crime. What is clear is that we are facing complex criminality and that, in the face of this, an investigation with a broad perspective is required to understand what is happening in Mexico with these crimes”.

“I do believe that incompetence is the best friend of corruption and impunity because what happens over and over again, both with the criminal investigation and with the intervention of the SEP, is that there is incompetence in terms of professionalization in the selection of teachers, in the files, in the institutional safeguard, or it is fraudulent and there is a cover-up”, the ODI director concluded.

Source: El Universal



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