Priest reinstated after abuse conviction

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08 July 2010

Rome – An Italian priest who was convicted of sexually abusing a girl has been restored to his post after being deemed innocent by the Vatican and his diocese, a bishop announced on Wednesday.Giorgio Carli, 48, went on trial after a woman said that she remembered during psychotherapy sessions that he had abused her when she was a girl.Carli, who always said he was innocent, was acquitted by one court but then convicted on appeal and sentenced to seven and a half years in jail, ANSA news agency reported.Italy’s Supreme Court, however, last year dropped the case as the statute of limitations expired, the agency said.The Vatican’s chief moral enforcer had examined the matter with a “rigorous canonical procedure” that ended with the acquittal of the priest, said Karl Golser, bishop of the city of Bolzano in north-eastern Italy.

“It is well known how strict the Holy See has become in dealing with these kind of matters,” he said in a statement announcing the priest’s reinstatement.

Golser said there had been a “total absence of objective confirmation of the accusations” and he was “convinced that the priest had absolutely not committed the deeds of which he is accused”.

He invited the diocese to welcome Carli “without reservations”.

In March, Golser asked for forgiveness after victims of past child abuse in his diocese came forward.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by a string of abuse scandals in recent months, with revelations emerging in the pope’s native Germany, Belgium, Austria, United States, Brazil and other countries. – AFP

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