Vatican City, Oct 13, 2020 / 05:00 am America/Denver (CNA).
The Vatican’s criminal court is expected to begin this week the trial of two Italian priests, one accused of sexual abuse at a pre-seminary inside Vatican City, and the second accused of covering up the alleged crime while serving as the seminary’s rector.
The proceedings are due to begin Oct. 14 at 9:30 a.m. in the tribunal of Vatican City State. It is thought to be the Vatican’s first criminal prosecution for abuse allegedly committed within its own territory.
The two defendants are Fr. Gabriele Martinelli, a 29-year-old former student at the Vatican’s St. Pius X youth seminary, and Fr. Enrico Radice, the seminary’s rector for 12 years. Neither man has commented publicly on the allegations.
The pre-seminary is intended to encourage priestly vocations and is the residence of about a dozen altar boys aged 12 to 18 who serve at papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Martinelli is accused of having repeatedly sexually molested, from around 2009 to 2012, a slightly younger boy who was living at the youth seminary. The abuse is alleged to have begun when both men were minors and continued until after Martinelli’s 18th birthday.