Monday, April 5, 2010

Gender Violence: The Case of Miguel Ángel Salgado Pimentel

Maybe because the media has the bad habit of informing us of what is irrelevant and of keeping silence regarding what is relevant, I knew about the case of Miguel Angel Salgado Pimentel just recently, when the day on which his death is remembered was already over. I want, anyway, to remember him today.

Miguel Angel married the attorney Maria Dolores Martín Pozo in 1998 and the couple had a daughter, María José. Miguel Angel decided to leave home on December de 2001 and in 2002 submitted the petition for divorce. As usually happens in divorces processes, the judge Juan Pablo González del Pozo awarded the custody of the child to the mother, who started to interfere with the relations between father and daughter, refusing to bring the child to the meeting point determined by court.

In 2003, the mother accused falsely Miguel Angel for sexual abuse, and for that reason, the court suspended his visits to his daughter. After two years without contact between father and daughter, on September of 2005 the court lifted the suspension due to the lack of evidence of the accusations. The judge ordered then that the mother should bring the minor to a series of visits to the father under the supervision of psychologist, in order to observe the behavior shown by the child towards her father, to which the mother refused, for which the judge imposed her a fine of 250 euros and warned her of the possibility of losing custody of the minor. The mother argued that the child did not wanted to see her father, the judge requested a report from the psychologist, and that report sustained that the mother was deliberately obstaculizing the contact between the child and her father, blocking his visits to her for three years already.

During the trial celebrated January 24 of 2007, the mother threatened to kill him Miguel Angel in front of a witness. The judge signed the divorce sentence on March 14 of 2007, giving Miguel Angel the custody of the child, and ordering a police operative at the child school to secure the pick up.

That same day, Miguel Angel was murdered, shot three times at the garage of his house by Charles Michael Guarín Cercos, in agreement with Eloy Sánchez Barba, by order of the mother. To complete the horrors, the president of the Constitutional Tribunal, María Emilia Casas Bahamonde, ordered a phone call from her office to the mother, offering her support, advising her to go to two female attorneys of the Themis Association, a radical feminist organization, and offering her help in the eventuality that the case reached the Constitutional Tribunal.

After the murder of Miguel Angel, the judge requested a new expert report to determine the custody of the minor. The mother refused again to obey this order and, with the purpose of separate the judge from the process, accused the judge for committing a felony in a legal process, without specifying the felony, but the accusation and the subsequent legal complain were rejected.

After the incarceration of the mother in May of 2008, the judge opened a new process to determine the custody of the minor, orphan of her father and with her mother in jail, and that process determined that the custody of the child should belong to the Community of Madrid.

The mother, who now is looking to get the sole custody for her parents and to block the relationship of the child with Miguel Ángel’s parents, leads from her cell a campaign to discredit judge González del Pozo, placing her relatives and friends in front of the court to harass the judge with insulting pamphlet and a megaphone. The purpose of the campaign is to force the judge to submit complaint or to file a suit against the mother, giving her the opportunity of recusing him and of separating him from the legal process. Knowing this, the judge limited himself to request the protection of the General Counsel of the Judicial Power from the harassment he was being submitted, avoiding this way being recused. Last September of 2008, a witness against the mother, denounced that he was receiving death threats.

Currently, the minor is under the custody of the mother’s love partner, with whom she does not have any family bond.

Each March 14 at 7:00 PM, the day and time on which Miguel Ángel was murdered, the Asociación de Padres de Familia Separados (APFS), one of the groups that form the important and growing movement in favor of joint custody in Spain, celebrates the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Men. On that day, as an act of remembrance and solidarity, a minute of silence is kept and a white candle is placed on the window sill.


  1. Thanks for your post. I did not know about this case until I read an interview with the Spanish writer Lorenzo Silva in La Vanguardia last weekend. Needless to say, the story is shocking. I guess the matter has not gone to trial yet? And is it true that little María lives with her mother´s boyfriend? I read elsewhere that she was in a centro de acogida.

    I am a family mediator and have a blog at I have lived in Spain for years and my principal aim is to serve the English-speaking community here.

    I believe momentum is building toward a revision the 2005 divorce law that will promote shared custody and encourage both parents to be involved in raising their children. For many fathers and children, visits every other weekend are obviously inadequate.

    Andrea (

  2. Andrea:

    Thanks for your comment. For the information that I have been able to gather, this case is still "sub judice", so probably the circumstances for the child are still subject to change.

    I would like to invite you to write your opinion on the current state of family law in Spain, since you are there and know things from first hand. If I see that the text fits well the blog, I will publish it, write the Spanish translation for the Spanish version of the blog,indicating that it your collaboration.

    Thanks for your work.


  4. Thank you for letting me know!