Saint Pius X Pre-Seminary Fathers Acquitted

Synthesis of Alessandro Di Bussolo’s Article in L’Osservatore Romano

Saint Pius X Pre-Seminary Fathers Acquitted
Vatican City State Court © Vatican Media criminal proceedings against Gabriele Martinelli and Enrico Radice

At the end of the trial of the Saint Pius X Pre-Seminary, which began on October 14, 2020, both Father Martinelli and Father Radice were acquitted, according to the Court ruling of Vatican State, published today, October 6, 2021.

The Vatican considered as insufficient the evidence presented to the Court by the complainant for an alleged crime of carnal violence attributed to Father Gabriele Martinelli, 29, a former student of the Pius X Pre-Seminary, directed in the Vatican by the Don Folci Opera of the diocese of Como, Italy. For his part, the former Rector, Father Enrico Radice, 71, was also acquitted of the charge of complicity.

Following is a translation and summary of Alessandro Di Bussolo’s article in L’Osservatore Romano, published by “Vatican News” in Spanish.

The Vatican Court acquitted Father Gabriele Martinelli, 29, today, a former student of the Saint Pius X Pre-Seminary, of the accusation of carnal violence and libidinous acts against a fellow student, six months younger than him, when they were both minors. The former Rector of the Pre-Seminary, who was in the Vatican until September of 2021, Father Enrico Radice, 71, accused of complicity, was also acquitted. Both priests are incardinated in the Diocese of Como, which runs the Institute through the Don Folci Opera. Other crimes were declared not punishable and others prescribed.

The Sentence after Almost a Year of Trial

 This is the principal part of the sentence pronounced at 12:45 pm in the multi-purpose room of the Vatican Museums’ complex, by the President of the Vatican Court, Giuseppe Pignatone, for the trial for alleged abuses carried out, according to the accusation, in the Pius X Pre-Seminary between 2007 and 2012, by Martinelli, underage student until August 2010, against L.G. a fellow student <seven> months younger.

Acquittal and Prescription for Father Martinelli

 The Court considered specifically that Father Martinelli was not punishable for the deeds imputed to him up to August 9, 2008, as he was younger than 16. It acquitted him of the crimes of the later period for lack of evidence and declared extinguished the penal action for prescription of the crime of corruption of minors, for the period between August 9, 2008 and March 19, 2009.

The Position of the Former Rector Father Radice

 The crime of complicity was prescribed in the case of the letter sent to the then Bishop of Como, Monsignor Coletti, in which he requested that the case be closed because the accusations were unfounded. The former Rector was also acquitted of the accusation of having written a second letter, apparently signed by the Bishop of Como because the deed doesn’t exist. Finally, he was declared not punishable for the statements made to the Promoter of Justice on September 6, 2018.

The Court’s Press Release after the Sentence

 In the press release after the verdict, the Vatican Judges stress that the accusation is based “primarily in the statements by the one offended,” L.G., who also confirmed in the trial the accusations of having suffered several sexual cases of abuse between 2006 and 2012. The documentation acquired during the trial wrote the Judges, made possible a “more complete assessment” of the relations between Father Martinelli and the alleged victim, “their evolution in time and the reliability of the statements “ made by the parties.

There Is No Evidence that the Alleged Victim Was Coerced

 The Court established that the “sexual relations of different kinds and intensity” between the accused and the person harmed, which allegedly lasted more than five years, were “verified” and certain. However, there is no evidence  “that demonstrates that the victim was obliged to engage in those relations by the accused, with the violence and threats contested.” The Judges also add that “the impossibility to consider the coercion of the victim proved beyond all reasonable doubt, stems from some significant and illogical contradictions in the statements made on several occasions by the victim.” Doubts also arise about the content of the telephone messages exchanged with Martinelli and the fact that “many of the witnesses present in the same room where, every now and then, the sexual relation took place, stating repeatedly that they never saw or heard anything.”

Requests of the Prosecutor’s Office: Six Years for Martinelli, Four Years for Radice

 The representative of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Promoter of Justice Roberto Zannotti, had requested a six-year sentence for Father Martinelli, for the aggravated crime of violation and aggravated acts of lust, and of four years for Father Radice, for complicity. In their final arguments the lawyers of the two accused and of Opera Don Folci, Institute of the diocese of Como in charge of the running of the Pre-Seminary and sued for civil liability by the victim refuted all the accusations.

For the Defense, No Credible Evidence of the Crime

 For the defense, in the trial that lasted almost one year and included 13 hearings, no credible evidence of the crime surfaced. Martinelli’s lawyer, Rita Claudia Baffioni, requested acquittal for reasons of inadmissibility, whereas Radice’s lawyer, Agnese Camilli Carissimi requested total acquittal, as did the lawyer of the Opera Don Folci, Emanuela Bellardini.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester