Two priests accused of sexual abuse are tried inside the Vatican

St. Peter's Square in the Vatican

St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican

The promoter (prosecutor) of Vatican Justice, Roberto Zannotti, asked this Thursday six years in prison for priest Gabriele Martinelli for committing sexual abuse against a partner of the Saint Pius X Preseminary of the Vatican until 2012, and others four for then-rector Enrico Radice for cover-up.

This Thursday a new hearing of this process was held, the first for abuses allegedly committed within the Vatican walls, which seeks to clarify what was happening in the Preseminary, where the young people who act as altar boys in St. Peter’s Basilica reside while they assess whether they follow the priestly path.

Zannotti requested for Martinelli 8 years in prison, reduced to 4 years, for the crime of aggravated rape and another 4 years, reduced to 2, for aggravated acts of lust. He explained that, according to Vatican law, Whoever has not reached the age of 16 when he committed the crime cannot be punished, and that is why the punishable period for Martinelli must be from the time he turned 16: August 9, 2008 until July 2012, when the victim LG left the Pre-Seminar, and not since – according to his complaint – they began to commit these abuses in 2017.

Zannotti asked Radice for 4 years in jail for cover-up and said that their behavior is “even more serious” than sexual abuse, “as much for the position as for the obsession to hide facts that are evident for all”. “All of Radice’s activity starting in 2009 was aimed at covering up Martinelli,” he said.

For her part, Radice’s lawyer, Agnese Camilli Carissimi, requested acquittal because the fact “does not exist,” while Martinelli’s lawyer will intervene at the hearing set for tomorrow, July 16. This Thursday, Andrea Stabellini, former judicial vicar of the Diocese of Como, and Domenico Parrella, a former student of the pre-seminary, testified.

Stabellini said he became aware of the incident reports in 2013 and that these included alleged sexual abuse by Martinelli of other colleagues and the complaints that Radice “did not want to do anything”. The accusations, the witness continued, were made in anonymous letters addressed to the then bishop of Como, Diego Coletti, and other Vatican institutions.

Coletti asked Stabellini to accompany him to Rome, where he did not allow him to participate in conversations with Radice and other leaders of the Opera Don Folci, manager of the preseminar, and later received the order to draft a document to close the case.

Parrella, for his part, affirmed that the atmosphere in the Preseminar was “normal” and that Radice was “very attentive to the boys, he stayed up late in the corridors, entered the rooms if he heard noise or saw the lights of the mobiles. “.

The victim’s lawyer, Dario Imparato, offered a plea of ​​more than an hour in which he said that LG was afraid to tell the facts and be designated by the preseminar community as homosexual, but also of being expelled and sent back to his town of about 3,000 inhabitants.


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