VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A Vatican prosecutor on Tuesday asked that two priests who served in a “pre-seminary” that housed altar boys inside the Vatican be ordered to stand trial on charges of sexual abuse.
The Vatican in a statement said the prosecutor had asked judicial superiors to indict Father Gabriele Martinelli on charges of carrying out the abuse and Father Enrico Radice, the rector of the institution at the time, of aiding and abetting the abuse.
A senior judge will decide if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a trial against the men, both Italian.
The abuse allegedly took place before 2012 in the Pius X Pre-Seminary in the Vatican, an institution that houses altar boys, usually between the ages of 14 and 18, who serve at Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica and are considering becoming priests.
The accused priests are no longer living in the Vatican and could not be reached for comment. Martinelli, who was a resident of the institute at the time and later became a priest, is believed to be living in a parish in northern Italy.
The statement said the Vatican prosecutor, whose official title is “Promoter of Justice,” began the investigation in 2017 after media reports about alleged sexual abuse in the institution.
It said that although the alleged abuse took place when Vatican law stipulated that it had to be reported within a year of taking place, Pope Francis issued a special provision in July removing the statute of limitations on the case.
An eventual trial would be the first concerning alleged abuse that took place inside the Vatican.
Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Leslie Adler