“At the age of 6 Benaiges took my panties down and touched me everywhere”

  • “At the age of eight he locked me up with five older boys. It is the scariest moment in my life.”

  • “He grabbed my hair and put me in the shower”

The first memory that Maria has of Albert Benaiges and from the Escola Barcelona de Les Corts is when he was six years old. “I remember that man lowering my panties and touching me everywhere in the locker room. He was six years old the first time and from there, eight years more,” he tells this newspaper. The most terrifying moment lived also has the protagonist who, until last week, was the coordinator of the Barça youth squad. “At the age of eight I was doing gymnastics after school and he locked me in the locker room with five older boys, some who were not even from school and who were 16-17 years old. It is the most scary moment in my life.” It has blocked what happened next, as have many more incidents with Benaiges in between. “I only remember those guys teasing when I was able to run away.”

The former coordinator of grassroots football has been denounced for sexual abuse of minors, according to the newspaper ‘ARA’. The victims accuse him of performing all kinds of touching, sexual games and masturbating next to minors for two decades that he was a physical education teacher at the Escola Barcelona de Les Corts. “I have lived with him for many years, he was one of my coaches and I never had any suspicions that this could happen,” said Xavi. The current coach of the Barça first team met the former technician in the lower ranks of the club. “I am not saying that it did not happen, but I had no suspicions,” he insisted, of a “complicated and delicate” issue of such personal affectation.

A group of former students has decided to file a complaint. A girl did it on Friday and other people are expected to do it in the next few days. Speaking to ‘Ara’, the accused denies any touching, but acknowledges that he would not repeat anything he did at that time. Some sixty testimonies have explained their experience as students in the 80s and 90s of an educator who went too far without the center intervening, leaving psychological consequences for both affected boys and girls.

From abuse to anorexia

EL PERIÓDICO has been able to speak with several of her former students in the 1980s. Maria explains that twice a year Benaiges sat and played while they showered. In addition to the trauma of the touching, was added the anger that they did not believe her and call her crazy. “The director told my parents that I was the rebel, that I had to go to a psychologist, that I had a bad head, that they were my imaginations and I don’t know how many other things. My father hit me a host that you can’t see, You don’t have anyone to defend you. And that made me isolate myself more and more, more and more shy and withdrawn. ” One day Benaiges punished her in the dining room and told her not to move. “I ran away through the kitchen, jumping the fence at only 10 years old, running home with my mother scared to death.” He began to have anorexia “because of all this” and he spent almost two years without going to class until he changed schools in eighth grade, following the advice that a teacher had given his mother. “Benaiges was a snake charmer and the center supported him,” he says. “He was an idol for many children and to convince them he told them that he was very good and they would put them into Barça as he tried with my brother.”

When seeing that the center did not take measures, some parents asked for a medical receipt so that their daughter would not have to go to physical education class. Based on therapy, Maria has been able to combat the trauma although she admits that she is still unable to pass the old school.

School reprimand for reporting it

“It was a surprise, we thought it had only happened to us and that’s it,” says Anna, knowing that it didn’t just happen in her promotion. “When we were at school and things got a little more unpleasant with the classmates we talked about complaining in some way and the mother of one went to complain to the address. They did not believe her, they said that the girl had lied and then they gave us one Reprimand in class, that we were inventing, that we could not talk like that about a teacher. If two mothers from my class complained and ignored them, multiply it by all groups and years. There will have been hundreds of complaints in 20 years. It is almost just as serious, they collaborated to make it last longer and there were more victims, “he laments.

Anna had him as a teacher in the eighties and remembers how with the entry of puberty it made her uncomfortable that Benaiges’ insistence on being present while they showered. “There was an archway between the changing room area and the shower area and he would stand there and make us remove the towel or he would remove it directly from us. ‘Without a towel, you don’t have to be ashamed,’ he insisted. and we felt very violent. And he said no, that nothing was wrong and that we had to get used to it. That’s why when class was over we would go very quickly to the locker room, wet our heads and put on our towels to show that we had showered. “

Elizabeth has not forgotten the day that Albert walked into the changing room and asked a colleague if Elizabeth had showered. Upon learning that he did not tell her to get in the shower. “He grabbed my hair and put me in the shower. It was very humiliating.” She recounted, when she was 11 years old, and two other girls went to speak with Mari Carmen de Miguel, director between 1982 and 1991. “She listened to us, she was very perplexed but nothing happened. He was the king of the mambo.” Relive the shame that made him undress in front of the teacher, which he felt when they did the cartwheel on the plinth and took the opportunity to touch them. Just like when they did the Cooper test, 12 minutes of sprinting. While he did it to the boys he counted the pulsations through the wrists, he did it by touching her left breast.

Related news

The change of the ‘Rhodes law’

“I was in psychological treatment, nobody believed me, they told me I was paranoid. Children have to be taken care of from sexual predators,” she says. At the beginning of the year he called a lawyer because he wanted to report him, but then they told him that his case had prescribed. The new Rhodes law, which took effect in June and extends the statute of limitations to 50 years, has changed the scene.


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