Sunday, 12 July 2009
When Todd Carpunky was 16, he joined the Legion of Christ. I his six years with the Catholic order, he bore witness to a culture of sexual abuse that rocked the Church. Here, he talks candidly to Peter Stanford about the secretive world created by the order's founder while the papal authorities looked the other way
Parents of youngsters recruited as Legionaries described it as a cult that targeted the young and naive in particular, some of them just 13, and then 'brainwashed' them. But it is Maciel himself who has proved most controversial. Nuestro Padre was, according to one biographer, 'a narcissistic sociopath' with a taste for flights on Concorde and five star hotels. He is acknowledged by the Legion to have fathered at least one child – a 23-year-old daughter said to be called Norma Hilda and now living in Madrid.
It has also been alleged that he was a paedophile. The first accusation came in 1976 from the former head of the Legion in the US. By 1998, the Vatican had received sworn statements from eight men, all detailing how Maciel had abused