The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Last week, the Army and the Federal Police of Mexico rescued more than 500 children who were in foster care in the southwestern state of Michoacan, where they lived in deplorable conditions and were sexually abused, officials said.
The Mexican Attorney General (Fiscal), Jesus Murillo, announced at a press conference that the rescue was achieved during a search at the refuge La Gran Familia, in the city of Zamora, after several complaints.
On the site, which functioned for 40 years, there were people, from birth to 40-years-olds, who slept on the floor, asking alms and were sexually abused.
He added that one time he visited the place, he “had to begin to eliminate pests that were there, rats, bedbugs, to leave it in good condition,” he noted.
He furthermore mentioned that “it is difficult to suddenly move 500 children, and for this the Interior Ministry, the DIF (National System for Integral Family Development) and the state of Michoacán are in charge.”
In turn, Zeron Thomas, head of the Criminal Investigation Agency PGR, said the federal forces raid stemmed from “at least 50 complaints against the administrators of this house, especially the lady Carmen Rosa Verduzco Verduzco, for illegal deprivation of liberty.”
He indicated that “The Great Family” is constituted by a boarding home for about 600 people, from newborns to people of over 40 years of age.
“During the investigation, statements of witnesses and victims who were related to La Gran Familia were collected and relate various physical and psychological abuse by Rosa del Carmen Verduzco Verduzco and of some officials of the group of the home,” he said.
Among the abuses that the witnesses narrated, stand out “being forced to beg for money in houses and on the street, being fed spoiled meals, sleep on the floor between pests, sexual abuse and prohibition to leave the premises”.
Babies born on site were recorded as children of the founder, “without allowing the parents to bring guardianship of the minors arguing that would happen at the age of majority.”
Zeron said that during the operation on Tuesday, Verduzco was arrested along with eight other employees, who already did a statement in front of the prosecutor, on suspicion of child abuse and sexual assault.
In turn, the governor of Michoacán, Salvador Jara, said that since it was assumed as ownership of the executive state in late June, he found out about the allegations against the shelter, and the failed attempts of civil associations and legislators to visit the facilities.
He then said that he proceeded to find out about “how the research was and asked the attorney to expedite the process, since the complaints had been filed more than a year.”
Once the search was done, Jara said he was dismayed as “we did not expect the conditions like we found them.”
“Indeed, more than 500 children were in very poor condition. I asked the prosecutor to continue the investigation, and of course the state will be contributing to make this come to fruition. We can not allow anywhere, neither in Michoacan or the Republic, that these things happen, he stressed.
Finally, the national DIF said that he is supporting the State Government “to figure out how we can move to a place that is worth for these 500 minors.”
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose, Costa Rica