Church failed to act on priest who ‘drugged and raped’ women, victim claims

Francisco Javier Cuenca was remanded in custody on suspicion of raping four women
Francisco Javier Cuenca was remanded in custody on suspicion of raping four women

The Spanish Catholic Church failed to act on allegations made against a priest who reportedly raped several women after drugging them with liquid ecstasy, his ex-girlfriend has claimed.

Francisco Javier Cuenca was detained in Málaga last month and has been remanded in custody on suspicion of raping four women.

According to police sources, the priest took advantage of parties and Church-related trips to spike women’s drinks with liquid ecstasy before performing sex acts on them.

He allegedly stole their underwear as trophies and is suspected of violating the privacy of several of his alleged victims after investigators discovered photographs and videos the priest had taken of them.

A woman who claimed to be his former girlfriend said she had reported “Father Fran”, as he was known by his parishioners, and handed over a hard disk containing some 3,000 photographs and videos of women in sexual poses or being sexually assaulted.

She said she had discovered the hard disk by accident after she began living with the priest in the autonomous city of Melilla last year, despite his vow of celibacy.

Before going to the police, the woman told investigators that she had attempted to inform Church authorities in Melilla and Málaga, the home of the bishopric to which the North African enclave of Melilla belongs in the Church hierarchy, about his alleged conduct.

Transferred to parish near Málaga

According to Spanish newspaper El País, the unnamed woman told Eduardo Resa, the head of the Church in Melilla, last December about the images showing Father Fran engaging in “compromising and inappropriate” acts with women.

Mr Resa told the television channel LaSexta that he passed on the information to his superiors at the Málaga bishop’s office.

No disciplinary action was taken by the church against Father Fran, who was later transferred at his own request to a parish on the Spanish mainland near Málaga.

His lover travelled from Melilla to visit him in early 2023, but when she suspected that he had initiated another relationship, she contacted the Bishop of Málaga to request a meeting that was never granted.

Finally, with no disciplinary action having been taken by the Church, the woman reported Father Fran to the police in Melilla, supplying the images as evidence.

Investigators have made contact with the alleged victims, who have said they do not recall being assaulted.

The Telegraph has approached Spain’s Catholic Synod for comment on the claim that Church officials had been aware of the allegations against the arrested priest and taken no action.