An Italian priest accused of sexually abusing choir boys in a seminary and another priest who allegedly facilitated the abuse will go on trial in the Vatican next week.
The alleged abuse took place in 2011 to 2012 at the pre-seminary of St Pius X, an institution located on Vatican grounds that trains choir boys and is very close to Pope Francis’s residence.
Gabriele Martinelli is suspected of carrying out repeated sexual assaults on at least one victim when he was a seminarian aged 21 and lived in the building.
Martinelli was made a priest in 2017.
The boarders at St Pius X are mainly children and adolescents who stay there while they attend a private school in Rome, and participate as choristers in the masses celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica.
Enrico Radice, rector of the residence at the time of the alleged events, is accused of covering the abuse up.
The Vatican said last year the duo would be tried.
The first hearing will be held on October 14, it said.
An investigation was launched into the allegations following the publishing in 2017 of a book called “Original Sin” by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, which detailed the alleged abuse.
In it, Polish seminarian Kamil Tadeusz Jarzembowksi said he had witnessed repeated sexual assaults on his roommate.
He claimed that Martinelli came to his room to have relations with the boy — who was then aged 17.
He said he had witnessed such acts up to 140 times and that Martinelli used power and intimidation to impose his will on young seminarians.