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Head of scandal-hit children's shelter not to face charges

Posted on Jul 22 2014 | IANS

Mexico City, July 22 : The founder of the shelter where more than 500 children were found living in squalid conditions was taken from one hospital to another for a heart examination after the Mexican Attorney General's Office said she cannot be charged because of her advanced age.

Rosa del Carmen Verduzco, known as "Mama Rosa," had been in a hospital in Zamora, Michoacan state, since her arrest last week.

The 81-year-old has a number of ailments, including diabetes, arteriosclerosis, hypertension and cardiac arrhythmia, Alberto Sahagun, the director of the Zamora hospital, said Monday.

Verduzco showed "a deterioration of her condition" due to her arrest, though she was always "very lucid," Sahagun told Milenio Television.

Mexican federal forces took over La Gran Familia shelter in Zamora last Tuesday and rescued almost 600 people, mostly children, following reports of imprisonment, sexual abuse and mistreatment committed at the centre.

Nine people were arrested, including Mama Rosa, but Mexican law bars prosecution of anyone over the age of 80.

Sahagun said that Verduzco is an "extremely strong" woman and that Sunday he found her "particularly happy" after she was able to speak with Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, "a close friend of hers since childhood".

The hospital to which Verduzco was admitted belongs to the family of former first lady Martha Sahagun de Fox, a benefactor of the shelter and one of those who raised their voices in defence of the work Mama Rosa has done over more than 60 years to aid and educate some 4,000 children.

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