Wed, Jul 23, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Director of Mexican children’s shelter skirts prosecution because of dementia

AFP, MEXICO CITY

Mexico will not prosecute the elderly director of a shelter where abuses of children allegedly ran rampant, as she has dementia, Mexican Minister of Justice Jesus Murillo Karam said on Monday.

Murillo Karam said that octogenarian Rosa Verduzco, better known as “Mama Rosa,” has apparent senile dementia, and as such cannot be tried.

Police raided the home, known as “La Gran Familia” and located in the western town of Zamora, on Tuesday last week, amid reports that five kidnapped children were being held there.

They found those children and much more: 400 minors and 200 adults living among large piles of rotting food and other fetid trash, as well as horror stories about sleeping amid rats and insects — and children even being forced to perform oral sex on adults.

Verduzco, who founded the shelter about 60 years ago, was hospitalized due to hypertension and kept under police guard pending charges after the raid. By late Saturday, all charges were dropped and she was allowed to go free.

However, six of the eight workers who had been arrested with her were jailed, local media reported, citing attorneys for the workers.

Murillo Karam said six now remained in detention awaiting trial and two were freed.

At least one of those detained has confessed to sexual abuse, investigation spokesman Tomas Zeron has said, adding that some of the children at the shelter reportedly suffered physical abuse, such as beatings, or were kept in isolation with little food.

Asked why the elderly “Mama Rosa” would not be tried in a case so horrific, Murillo Karam said: “Given her cognitive functioning problems, in addition to her advanced age, she has ... symptoms consistent with senile dementia.”

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