Vatican Sex Abuse Trial Ends With Call for Six-Year Sentence for Priest

VATICAN CITY — The first trial involving fees of sexual abuse contained in the partitions of Vatican City ended this week, with a prosecutor asking that one defendant, now a priest, be sentenced to 6 years in jail. A verdict within the case is predicted in October.

In his closing arguments on Thursday, the prosecutor, Roberto Zannotti, stated that as a youth, the Rev. Gabriele Martinelli, now 28, had repeatedly abused one other youth recognized solely by his initials, L.G., all through the 5 years each had been boarders on the seminary for younger boys who’re altar servers in St. Peter’s Basilica.

L.G. stated he was 13 when the abuse started, seven months youthful than his fellow youth seminary resident who turned Father Martinelli.

Mr. Zannotti additionally requested that one other priest who was on trial, the Rev. Enrico Radice, serve 4 years in jail, saying he had seemed the opposite means whereas the sexual abuse towards L.G. was happening on the youth seminary.

Defense attorneys insist that the abuse by no means occurred, although they complained in regards to the preliminary narrative that emerged in Italian media, which solid the case for example of pedophilia occurring inside the Vatican’s partitions.

Mr. Zannotti argued that Gabriele Martinelli was a dominant presence on the seminary, capable of coerce L.G. into doing his will by providing plum rewards, like serving mass with the pope, in change for sexual favors.

He known as what transpired “acts of violence” that had been allowed to proceed as a result of Father Radice, then the seminary’s rector, coated for the accused abuser. The rector’s “behavior is even more serious,” Mr. Zannotti stated, “because of his role and his obstinacy in covering up facts that were evident to all.”

The case drew worldwide headlines, partly as a result of the establishment — St. Pius X youth seminary — is a stone’s throw from Casa Santa Marta, the residence of Pope Francis, who greater than another pontiff has tried to place an finish to the scourge of sexual abuse of minors by clerics within the Roman Catholic Church.

Francis has enacted new laws, created a fee supposed to guard minors and held a worldwide summit on the Vatican in 2019 to higher educate his bishops and enact change.

In his closing remarks on Thursday, Dario Imparato, a lawyer for L.G., described the setting on the youth seminary as “foul, noxious and rotten.” The case illustrated the “failure of small, closed communities, impermeable to the outside,” which results in “abuses of power,” he stated, including that it was simply “the tip of the iceberg.”

The Vatican court docket home in the course of the intercourse abuse trial final October.Credit…Vatican Media, through Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The alleged abuse is claimed to have taken place between 2007 and 2012, when L.G. left the youth seminary. Father Martinelli was ordained as a priest in 2017 and now lives at a residence for senior monks in northern Italy.

The accusations towards Father Martinelli and Father Radice first got here to mild in 2013, through an nameless letter to Pope Francis the identical yr he was chosen as pontiff. At the time, an investigation begun by the bishop of Como, in northern Italy, the place the order that oversees the seminary relies, discovered the accusations to be groundless.

It was solely after the accusations towards the 2 monks had been made public in a ebook and an investigative tv program in 2017, new inquiry was opened, which led to the Vatican trial that started final October.

The prosecution’s case rests nearly totally on L.G.’s grievance and on the testimony of one other boarder on the youth seminary, Kamil Jarzembowski, a Polish pupil who shared a room with L.G., and specified that he witnessed the alleged abuse two or three nights every week for a lot of his keep within the seminary.

No different witnesses have come ahead. Agnese Camilli Carissimi, a lawyer who’s representing Father Radice, stated it was probably that different seminarians would have witnessed such frequent incidents of abuse.

Emanuela Bellardini, one of many protection attorneys, known as Mr. Jarzembowski, the “deus ex machina” of the case, whose accusations on the tv present “Le Iene” introduced the case into the general public sphere.

Mr. Jarzembowski was expelled from the seminary for not obeying guidelines, and attorneys for the protection argued that his accusations towards Father Martinelli and Father Radice had been motivated by revenge and monetary achieve. Both he and L.G. have sued the Opera Don Folci, the Como-based order that oversees the seminary, for compensation for the struggling they are saying they’ve endured.

Kamil Jarzembowski, a former pupil within the Vatican’s youth seminary, final yr.Credit…Gregorio Borgia/Associated Press

In May, Pope Francis ordered that the residence be moved exterior the Vatican earlier than the following educational yr begins in September.

Lawyers for the Opera Don Folci, Father Martinelli and Father Radice closed their protection this week denying that any sexual abuse ever occurred on the youth seminary. They requested that the 2 monks be cleared of all fees.

“This trial should never have taken place,” Rita Claudia Baffioni, Father Martinelli’s lawyer, stated Friday. The prosecution was by no means capable of show that any abuses occurred, she stated.

The president of the Vatican court docket, Giuseppe Pignatone, stated that the decision can be issued on Oct. 6. “Every contribution has been precious,” he stated. “At this point, the court is able to decide.”