A former teacher at an Opus Dei school who on Thursday was sentenced in Spain to 11 years in jail for sexually abusing a minor has issued an open letter insisting on his innocence and promising to appeal.

“I can’t apologize for something that didn’t happen, but I’m capable of forgiving those who, with so much insistence and evil have destroyed my life and that of my family,” wrote José María Martínez Sanz, a former teacher at the Gaztelueta school in a letter he sent to the media on the day the sentence was made public, Nov. 15.

“This is, without a doubt, the toughest time of my life,” Martínez wrote in his letter. “I understand that it’s hard to believe me after a condemning judicial resolution, but the truth is that I have never sexually abused anyone.”

The former professor, a lay member of Opus Dei, was accused by a former student of sexual abuse. The events allegedly happened in 2008-2010, when the young man, who today is 22, was 12 and 13 years old.

Martínez also wrote that in recent years he’s lived “with anguish,” conscious of the fact that he was innocent, but knowing that people who were dear and close to him could believe the allegations.

This is the first time the former professor has broken his silence, and in the letter he acknowledges he’s remained quiet on the council of his lawyer.

“I trusted that the adequate place to defend my innocence were the courts. I’ve suffered the unimaginable due to all the falsehoods published in the media,” he said. “During the trial, I listened to people I didn’t know taking my guilt for certain, without any evidence, beyond the credibility they gave to the testimony of the boy.”

“Today I can’t hold it in any longer and I scream with all my strength: I’m innocent! I’m not foreign to the pain of the other side, nor insensitive to his demands and allegations, but I declare that no matter how hard and chilling they might seem, they’re not true!”

The former professor also wrote that he worked with young people for 15 years, and not once was there a complaint regarding his behavior, even though he’s accompanied young boys camping, on excursions and trained them in soccer.

“I never thought that my dedication could turn against me in such an unfair and cruel way,” he wrote, adding that he wasn’t judged once, during the trial, but dozens of times in the past six years in “public opinion.”

“No matter what happens in the future, these years have broken my professional and personal life, and my family has suffered a lot, I do not wish this on anyone,” he wrote.

According to the former professor, the only consolation he finds in this “hell that has destroyed my life, is knowing that God is a witness to my innocence.”

On the other hand, the father of the victim, Juan Cuatrecasas, said his son had suffered “continuous abuse” over two years and demanded “moral reparation” for his son.

After hearing the ruling, he said he was “satisfied” for his son, because both Cuatrecasas and his wife are “indirect victims.”

“He needed something like this to feel recognized,” Cuatrecasas said.

According to him, the judge’s ruling makes it “clear” that despite the “defamations and attempts to annul the victim” the young man was “right.”

He also said that he expects to see the headmaster of the school go to the media and “apologize” to his son and “recognize him as a victim,” something that “Gaztelueta hasn’t done in all this time.”

According to the ruling, the headmaster, Imanol Goyarrola, who at the time was vice-headmaster and the man tasked with investigating the claims, did not act accordingly to the allegations.

“We don’t understand it, it’s inexplicable,” the sentence reads. According to it, Goyarrola was neither “rigorous nor serious” and his actions were “inadequate.”