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As much fun as it is to poke fun at VH1 for featuring so many murderers on its dating shows, the Spanish TV show “El Diario de Patricia” may have done worse: a father whom the show reunited with a daughter he hadn’t seen in four decades is now in prison after he used the reunion to sexually abuse and rape his daughter.
[H]e seemed like a normal father who was desperate to get back in touch with the two daughters he had not seen for nearly 40 years.
By chance, one of his daughters saw him on the programme and the two were reunited after 38 years apart. But this was not to have the happy ending that normally delights the producers and audiences of Spain’s reality shows.
The 65-year-old father repeatedly sexually abused the younger daughter, who was scarred by the experience of growing up without a father.
Yikes. Sorry, we’re fresh out of happy news today. But if you want to know more about this depressing and sordid train wreck — or if you just hate Spain — keep reading.
It was the latest in a series of real-life tragedies to have hit the shows that delight in exploring the underbelly of Espana profunda (deep Spain) and which rival the likes of The Jeremy Kyle Show [damn British articles -- think of it like "Jerry Springer" - Ed.]
The daughter’s ordeal began in 2003 when she was watching an edition of El Diario de Patricia (Patricia’s Diary), a reality show that specialises in family scandals, marriage breakdowns or long-lost relatives appearing by surprise live on air.
The 38-year-old spotted her father, who told viewers that he had not seen his two daughters since 1966 when he split up with their mother. She decided to get in touch with him after they spoke on the telephone. They met for the first time in Torremolinos, near Málaga.
The mood changed when the father kissed her on the lips during one of their seafront meetings. Instead of refusing to see him again, she returned with him to her home in Málaga, where he sexually abused her.
The court was told that the abuse continued during several other meetings and he later raped his daughter. A psychiatric report, submitted to the court, said that the woman did not react in the normal way when her father started to abuse her “because of the lack of support which she had suffered throughout her life”.
The father denied that he had abused his daughter and claimed she made up the allegations as revenge for him abandoning her as a child.
The hugely popular TV shows, which Spaniards call telebasura (rubbish television), have been beset by troubles. Two years ago Antena 3, the maker of El Diario de Patricia, faced calls to close the show after Svetlana Orlova, a single mother, declined her ex-boyfiend’s live proposal of marriage. A week later she was murdered by Ricardo Navarro, who had been turned down.
After the killing it emerged that the couple had a violent past and Ms Orlova had been granted a restraining order against Navarro, who stabbed her to death.
The father was sentenced to seven years in prison, which may or may not be a severe enough punishment, depending on your views. It’s like one year for ever half-decade he didn’t rape her.