In 1989, former Salvadoran Vice Minister of Public Security Inocente Orlando Montano conspired with other high commanders to murder six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her sixteen-year old daughter. Montano was a key participant in the decision to order the killing of Father Ellacuría and “to leave no witnesses.” Montano was also second-in-command of the Battalion Belloso, a notorious military unit that committed numerous human rights abuses during the 12-year Salvador Civil war.
As a direct result of CJA’s investigation and Jesuits Massacre Case in Spain, Montano was discovered in Boston, where he had been living for about 10 years. On August 23, 2011, after CJA brought Montano to the attention of the U.S. government, he was arrested on federal immigration fraud charges. By February 10, 2012, Montano was indicted on federal charges of immigration fraud and perjury. He was accused of making false statements regarding his date of entry into the United States and his military service in El Salvador on his application for Temporary Protected Status, a humanitarian benefit available to eligible Salvadorans.
On September 11, 2012, Montano pled guilty to six counts of federal criminal immigration fraud and perjury. In doing so, he acknowledged that he knowingly made false statements regarding his date of entry into the United States. The fact that Montano has pled guilty underscores the need to hold him accountable for the Jesuits Massacre by extraditing him to Spain to stand trial there. CJA submitted letters to the court on behalf of several victims of human rights abuses perpetrated by troops under Montano’s command, as well as on behalf of several priests who knew the murdered Jesuit priests well and familiarized the court with their life’s work.
Montano’s sentencing hearing began on January 15, 2013. It resumed on August 22, 2013 with the cross-examination of an expert witness for the prosecution, Stanford University Professor Terry Karl. Her expert report was accepted as her direct testimony. The sentencing hearing continued on August 26, 2013 with the re-direct of Professor Karl, followed by the testimony of General Mauricio Vargas, expert witness for the defense. On August 27, 2013 Judge Woodlock rendered his decision. He sentenced Montano to 21 months in federal prison, to begin October 11, 2013. The final judgment was entered on September 10, 2013.
On April 8, 2015 the U.S. government filed a request seeking the extradition to Spain of Montano to stand trial in CJA’s Jesuits Massacre Case. Read more about Montano’s extradition, here.