Italy: Priest Given 10 Years for Sex Crimes against Minors

May 3, 2012

A Catholic priest in northern Italy was sentenced to almost a decade in prison for crimes that include attempted sexual violence against minors.

The court in the northwest city of Genoa sentenced Riccardo Seppia to nine years, six months and 20 days in prison and fined him 28 thousand euros. Prosecutors has sought 11 years and eight months behind bars.

"I ask for forgiveness for my moral behaviour," Seppia said before the sentencing.

The Genoa court found Seppia guilty of attempted sexual violence and attempted prostitution of a minor. He was also found guilty of attempting to furnish cocaine to minors. His lawyer Paolo Bonanni said he would appeal in an effort to get a lighter sentence.

Italy allows two appeals before a suspect is considered guilty of a crime.

The parish priest was arrested in May 2011 on suspicion of sexual violence against a 16-year-old altar boy and sex abuse of other youths, in addition to the drug charge.

Seppia was suspended by the Vatican soon after his arrest following surveillance of his mobile phone and obscene text messages allegedly sent to teenage boys, including a 15-year-old with whom he had arranged a sexual encounter later that day.

The Vatican has come under attack in the US and Europe for neglecting accussations of clerical sexual abuse of children.








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