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Rome Reports

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Vatican opens first trial against priest accused of abuse on its territory


This Oct. 14, the Vatican will open its first civil trial against a priest accused of sexual abuse.

After an investigation that was launched in 2017, the Vatican justice system is trying Gabriele Martinelli, accused of having sexually abused one of his peers at the Vatican's St. Pius X preparatory seminary, when both were studying there.

The events occurred before 2012. Both the accused and the victim were minors at the time of the crime. It could also be considered an abuse of power, since the now-priest was in charge of supervising the group at the time.

The institution's then-rector is also being investigated for possibly covering up the crime.

The trial is possible because Pope Francis gave special permission for it. The reported facts date to a time in which the law prevented prosecution if the injured did not file a complaint within a year of the abuse.

POPE FRANCIS
Feb. 21, 2019

“The holy people of God look to us and expect from us not simple and discounted condemnations but concrete and effective measures. We must be concrete.”

The Vatican has taken important steps to face the drama of abuse. In July it published guidelines to help bishops observe the new laws against sexual abuse in the Church and do justice in their dioceses. These laws were the fruits of the world meeting on the protection of minors that took place in February 2019.


Daniel Díaz Vizzi
Translation: CT