2,000 stolen baby cases filed in Spain

April 26, 2012 at 3:37 PM

MADRID, April 26 (UPI) -- At least 2,000 cases have been filed in Spain's so-called stolen babies scandal, but some groups say there could be tens of thousands dating back decades.

The face of the scandal is an 87-year-old Catholic nun, Sister Maria Gomez, accused of taking a newborn from her unmarried mother and placing the baby up for an illegal adoption in 1982. The nun refused to testify when she appeared in court this month and later issued a statement saying the allegations were disgusting.

CNN reported Thursday it appears the illegal adoptions were the work of individuals looking to make money, with no national network or organized crime organizations involved.

Antonio Barroso, who didn't learn until he was an adult that he was one of the "stolen babies," has set up ANADIR, the National Association of People Affected by Irregular Adoptions, which has been contacted by hundreds of people hoping to find their lost children or parents, CNN said. The association has created a database to register the DNA of parents searching for their children. CNN said only a handful of matches have been made so far.

Madrid's prosecutor told the network pursuing a criminal case is difficult because the statute of limitations for forging a birth certificate has expired and the alleged forgery does not prove a baby was stolen.

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