The St. Pius X pre-seminary is a residence for about a dozen boys, aged 12 to 18, who serve at papal Masses and other liturgies in St. Peter's Basilica and are considering the priesthood.
Located on Vatican City territory, the pre-seminary is run by a Como-based religious group, the Opera Don Folci.
The defendant Martinelli was an alumnus of the youth seminary and would return as a visitor to tutor and coordinate the students' activities. He is accused of abusing his authority at the seminary and taking advantage of relationships of trust, as well as using violence and threats, in order to force his alleged victim "to undergo carnal acts, sodomy, masturbation on himself and on the boy."
The alleged victim, L.G., was born in 1993 and was 13 at the time the alleged abuse began, turning 18 about a year before it ended.
Martinelli, who is a year older than L.G., was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Como in 2017.
Radice was the youth seminary's rector for 12 years. He is accused, as rector, of having helped Martinelli "evade investigations, after crimes of sexual assault and lechery."
Giuseppe Pignatone, president of the Vatican tribunal, asked Radice why he said that Jarzembowski and L.G. were motivated by "economic interests" if Radice had been informed of letters with allegations against Martinelli by Cardinal Angelo Comastri and Bishop Diego Attilio Coletti of Como in 2013, but the allegations were made public only in 2017. Radice said it was his "intuition."
The priest again praised Martinelli. He "was a leader, he had the makings of a leader, I saw him grow, he did every duty well," Radice said. He added that Martinelli was "trusted," but he did not have power or responsibility because ultimately decisions were up to Radice as rector.
During the interrogation of the former rector, it was revealed that the alleged victim L.G. testified that he spoke to Radice about the abuse in 2009 or 2010, and that Radice "responded aggressively" and L.G. "was marginalized."
L.G. stated in his affidavit that he "continued to be abused" and he was "not the only one to be abused and to speak with Radice."
Radice insisted again that L.G. "never" spoke with him. Later, he said that L.G. spoke to him about "annoyances" with Martinelli, but never about sexual abuse.
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"There were quarrels and jokes as in all communities of children," the priest stated.
Radice was also questioned about a 2013 letter from a now deceased priest and spiritual assistant at the pre-seminary, who said that Martinelli should not be ordained a priest for "very serious and truly grave reasons."
The defendant said he "didn't know anything about it" and the other priest "should have informed me."
Prosecutors had put forward as evidence against Radice a letter that he had supposedly created with the bishop of Como's letterhead and in the name of the bishop, stating that Martinelli, then a transitional deacon, could be transferred to the Diocese of Como.
Radice said that at the time he was an assistant to Bishop Coletti, that he composed the letter on behalf of the bishop and the bishop signed it, but later the bishop revoked it. Radice's lawyers gave a copy of the letter to the president of the tribunal.
At the hearing, the former rector said that the priests running the youth seminary were not always in agreement, but they did not have large conflicts.