Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan 20, 2019 / 12:38 pm
In an exclusive report from the Associated Press, the former vicar to Argentine Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta said that the Vatican had had information about sexual abuse allegations against Zanchetta for several years.
This contradicts a Vatican statement made just weeks ago which said that Vatican officials had only gained knowledge of sexual abuse allegations against Zanchetta a few months ago.
Bishop Zanchetta resigned as Bishop of Orán, Argentina on Aug. 1, 2017, slightly more than four years after his appointment there. At the time, he cited health problems and “difficulty in managing relations with the diocesan clergy and in very tense relations with the priests of the diocese,” and “an incapacity to govern the clergy.”
About four months after his resignation, Zanchetta was appointed by Francis to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) in December 2017. The APSA manages the Holy See's assets and real estate holdings.
On January 3, 2019, the Vatican announced that they had first received accusations of alleged sexual misconduct against Zanchetta only a few months ago, in the fall of 2018.
Alessandro Gisotti, interim Holy See press officer, said Jan. 3 that “at the time of his resignation there had been against (Bishop Zanchetta) accusations of authoritarianism, but there had been against him no accusation of sexual abuse…the accusations of sexual abuse date to this autumn.”
But Rev. Juan Jose Manzano, Zanchetta’s former vicar, told the AP that the Vatican received complaints against Zanchetta in both 2015 and 2017 for alleged “obscene behavior”, misconduct and sexual harassment of adult seminarians, and naked selfies found on his phone.
Manzano, who now is a parish priest in Argentina, told the AP that he and several other diocesan officials alerted the Vatican in 2015 of Zanchetta’s concerning behavior. He said he sent the Vatican the naked selfies and other compromising images that had been found on the bishop’s phones.