The two priests are Gabriele Martinelli and Enrico Radice. The first, aged 28, is accused of sexually assaulting an altar boy between 2007 and 2012. The second, aged 72, is accused of covering up these assaults from his position as headmaster of the school. theology where the abuses would have taken place. Neither of the two defendants has commented on the allegations so far.
Although the Catholic Church has been shaken in recent decades by a long list of sex scandals, the Vatican has never ruled in the justice system of a case involving allegations of sexual abuse. The fact that the process is held inside the Vatican walls is important from a symbolic point of view, but it is also related to the location of the theological school where the abuses took place – Pius X Seminary is inside the Vatican, just a few steps from the place where Pope Francis lives. The accusations brought against Martinelli have been known since 2012, but were made public only in 2017, when a journalist discovered them after talking to the victim’s roommate.
Sexual scandals involving many Catholic priests continue to shake the Catholic Church. Although Pope Francis has taken several steps to combat the phenomenon, critics say he does not understand the true extent of these abuses. In 2018, he publicly condemned, in a letter addressed to all Catholics in the world, the abuses and demanded an end to the cover-ups. In 2019, he also took a more concrete measure than simple convictions and statements, making it mandatory to report to the Vatican any cases of sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests.