March 16th, 2010
03:46 PM ET

Former Catholic teacher arrested for alleged abuse

A man who used to teach at a Roman Catholic religious order's schools in Spain has been arrested in Chile on suspicion of sexually abusing children, police in Spain and Chile said Tuesday.

The suspect, Jose Angel Arregui Erana, was arrested in August 2009 in Chile, where he was teaching. He was held on suspicion of filming the abuse and possessing images of sexually abused boys, a Chilean cybercrime unit police commander, Jaime Jara, told CNN partner station CNN+ by telephone on Tuesday.

Jara said the suspected crime of possessing the illegal images occurred in Chile but that the alleged sexual abuse of the students and the filming of it apparently occurred earlier in Spain.

Arregui, who is in his early fifties, was a physical education teacher in Spain and allegedly placed hidden cameras in gyms and bathrooms to film sexual abuse of the students, Jara told CNN+.

The allegations come against a backdrop of allegations of child abuse by priests in Ireland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands in recent months. The suspect in the Spanish case does not appear to have been a priest, but a layman teaching in schools run by a Catholic order.

"The alleged events happened here, in Spain," a Spanish Civil Guard spokesman in Madrid told CNN.

The spokesman, who by custom is not identified, said Civil Guard investigators have been working on the case in recent months and that there has been more than one complaint from an alleged victim.

But none of the alleged victims so far have been willing to go public about the events, which in some cases occurred years ago, the Civil Guard spokesman said.

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Filed under: Religion • Spain • World
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