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Old 07-03-2018, 08:00 AM
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Default Canarian Weekly: Cave-dweller’s kids are cut down from 36 to 23

A MAN who lives in a cave with three women, and 25 of the 36 children he has fathered with them, has had 13 kids taken into care by Spanish social services.

Police raided the home of 61-year-old Juan Manuel, known as “El Canuto”, in Marchal, Granada, and took away 11 of his offspring. They also had to force him to hand over two others the next day.

All are aged between three and 15, with some taken to a care home and others placed with foster families, amid accusations of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as violence between their father and mothers, and negligence.

It comes in the wake of a probe by a public prosecutor, which concluded that the girls were at the greatest risk.

According to a written report, El Canuto has six children with a woman named Piedad, 16 with María Dolores, and 14 with Soledad, of which two have already died.

The document spells out that he “controls the rules of behaviour for all members of the family (including women, adults and children), based on a one-way, authoritarian, communication style, and a regime of behavioural and emotional tyranny and oppression”.

It adds: “That disciplinary control is carried out via threats, humiliation and alleged physical abuse. There is also a clear difference in terms of gender, with discrimination against the women and girls.”

Investigators say the Junta de Andalucia regional government may, eventually, assume custody of the children.

El Canuto became a minor celebrity after being portrayed as a colourful but harmless character on a TV documentary 10 years ago. But the new inquiry claims his cave house has no running water and hardly any furniture.

He boasts that he has never worked a day in his life and has a criminal record, although he has never been jailed.

Other townsfolk are, allegedly, scared to discuss him, and even the mayor refused to comment, in the wake of the swoop by 40 Guardia Civil officers.

They were wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying submachine guns, accompanied by social workers who know the family.

The mayor said: “You have to understand our situation: journalists leave and we have to stay here with our families. We have to be very careful, because things happen later and they are irreversible.”

El Canuto has denied mistreating his family, telling news agency EFE that his children had been “kidnapped”, before insisting they had not been living in sub-standard conditions.

The probe was launched after two of the daughters last year ran away from home and told detectives they had been sexually abused.

Investigators say the Junta de Andalucia regional government may, eventually, assume custody of the children.
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