VATICAN CITY (CNS) — 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.”
The Vatican has accused Msgr. Radice of hindering the investigation, including by lying to Vatican investigators in 2018 when he affirmed with absolute certainty that he had no knowledge of sexual acts ever taking place at the seminary while he was rector.
The alleged victim was present in the Vatican court, marking the first time he faced his alleged abuser in the courtroom. He is formally a civil party to the case.
Both priests also were present for the hearing. However, only Msgr. Radice was dressed in clerical attire while Father Martinelli wore a beige short-sleeved polo shirt with a blue sweater.
Father Martinelli was a senior student, tutor and coordinator of seminarian activities. He is accused of abusing his position of trust and using threats and violence to force the alleged victim, identified as L.G. and who is a year younger, to engage in sexual relations, including sodomy and mutual masturbation “at different times and places in Vatican City State.”
Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103