Vatican court continues trial on alleged abuse at minor seminary

Catholic News Service via Catholic Philly

October 28, 2020

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Vatican City – At a criminal trial involving alleged sexual abuse at a minor seminary located in the Vatican, the Vatican City State criminal court accepted a motion to allow the alleged victim to seek damages from the seminary and the religious institution that runs it.

Giuseppe Pignatone, president of the court, approved the motion Oct. 27, the second day of the trial against Father Gabriele Martinelli and Msgr. Enrico Radice. Pignatone also announced that the next session of the trial would be Nov. 19.

Father Martinelli, 28, is accused of abusing a younger student from 2007 to 2012. Although he and his alleged victim were under the age of 18 when the abuse allegedly began, the court accused him of continuing to abuse the younger student when Father Martinelli was already 20.

Msgr. Radice was rector of the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary, run by the Diocese of Como’s Opera Don Folci, at the time the alleged abuse occurred. The diocese, however, was not included in motion approved by the court.

Dario Imparato, the alleged victim’s lawyer, argued that as an entity charged with overseeing the minor seminary, the Opera Don Folci exhibited a “lack of vigilance” and “great negligence” regarding the abuses that allegedly occurred on their watch.

Although Vatican prosecutor Roberto Zannotti, as well as lawyers for Father Martinelli and Msgr. Radice, objected to the motion, Pignatone deliberated for nearly 30 minutes before announcing his decision that the request was “accepted and authorized.”

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