Woman in Mexican children's home probe a divisive figure

Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:48pm EDT
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By Lizbeth Diaz

ZAMORA Mexico (Reuters) - To her supporters, Rosa Verduzco dedicated her life to raising and helping thousands of children abandoned by their own parents.

Mexico's government, however, says she presided over years of neglect and abused the children in her care.

Verduzco, 79, was arrested this week in an army and police raid on the refuge for abandoned or troubled children in Zamora in the western state of Michoacan known as "La Gran Familia" (The Big Family).

The government said the children were living in dire conditions and that some were sexually abused.

The allegations have shocked many Mexicans and Verduzco is the center of attention, portrayed as some by a monster and others as a victim of unfounded rumors.

Dozens of anxious family members waited outside the home through Wednesday night waiting to see the children who lived inside and were still being questioned by police on Thursday.

Accounts of Verduzco from outside the refuge were damning.

"She had cuffs so she could tie us to the wall hand and foot and beat us," according to Victor Verduzco, a 54-year-old mechanic, who said he used to live in the refuge after being abandoned as a child. "I came because I want to see justice."   Continued...

Relatives wait for news of children outside the home "La Gran Familia" (The big family) in the western city of Zamora July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Henry Romero