Vatican judge takes plea bargain on molestation, child pornography charges

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20 February 2018

John L. Allen Jr.

Vatican judge takes plea bargain on molestation, child pornography charges

Pope Francis meets members of the Roman Rota, the supreme Tribunal of the Holy See, at the Vatican, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Credit: L’Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP.)

ROME – A judge of the Roman Rota, the Vatican’s highest appellate court, has accepted a plea bargain in an Italian criminal court for a conditionally suspended sentence of one year and two months in prison on charges of sexual molestation and possession of child pornography.

Based on reports in the Italian media, 55-year-old Monsignor Pietro Amenta was detained by police after an incident in March 2017, in which Amenta allegedly fondled the genitals of a young but over-age Romanian man in a Roman market. The man reportedly then followed Amenta and summoned police, who took Amenta into custody.

An investigation later discovered roughly 80 pornographic images on Amenta’s personal computer, some involving minors, leading to a second charge in the case.

According to reports, Amenta has previously faced charges of obscenity in 1991 and sexual molestation in 2004, though neither of those charges led to convictions. In 2013, Amenta himself made a complaint to police of being robbed by two transsexuals.

The Feb. 14 conviction in the Amenta case came just two weeks after the Vatican’s chief prosecutor, Gian Piero Milone, revealed that other such investigations are also underway and said that the Vatican is “determined” to prosecute such crimes.

“The inquiries underway are in their preliminary phase, and are conducted conscientiously, with the greatest discretion, out of respect for all the persons involved,” Milone said.

Amenta’s sentence from the Tribunal of Rome does not rule out the possibility that he could also face either criminal charges or canonical sanctions before a Church court.

The outcome in the Amenta case comes at a time when Vatican prosecutors are also looking into charges against Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, a former official of the Vatican embassy in Washington, D.C., who faces charges in Canada after allegedly using a computer in Windsor to download and distribute pornographic material, including child pornography.

The charges against Capella were relayed to the Vatican embassy in Washington by the U.S. State Department, and Capella was recalled to Rome to face a Vatican criminal probe. According to reports, he’s currently living under a form of house arrest at the Collegio dei Penitenzieri, the same location where Archbishop Józef Wesołowski, another Vatican diplomat, died in 2015 after facing charges of child abuse during as assignment in the Dominican Republic.

Amenta is one of 22 “auditors,” or judges, of the Roman Rota, and was appointed to the position by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in 2014. Though the Rota can hear disputes involving any aspect of Church law, the majority of its caseload is devoted to annulment procedures from around the world.

Prior to his current assignment, Amenta had served as a lawyer in Italian ecclesiastical tribunals, as a university professor of Church law, and as a judge in the tribunal of the Vicariate of Rome for several years.

From 1996 to 2012, Amenta also served as an official of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

“Those were 15 years in which I was able to come to know the unique and complex world of the Roman Curia, and where I was able to learn the practice of the law,” Amenta said in a 2013 interview.

10 Responses to Vatican judge takes plea bargain on molestation, child pornography charges

  1. BC says:

    I hadn`t read your posting about this here Sylvia.
    Even if Gian Piero Milone represents that the Vatican is “determined” to prosecute such crimes; he`s not saying anything about the secret nature of it`s court proceedings and he`s not addressing the token sentences that it`s courts deliver.
    Prosecuting Monsignor Amenta in a secret proceeding is covering-up for him; and cleaning-up for his clerical peers who knew about him both inside and outside of the walls of Vatican City.

  2. bruce says:

    hey popie looks like you have a shit storm of deviated priests. good luck . call out the bishops. oh wait a minute most are up on charges. Funny they hardly do hard time. What a disgusting group.

  3. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    This morning, I turned on the news and was immediately made aware that Pope Francis has stated that those who “attack” the church do so under the influence of Satan!!
    Is it perhaps the other way around? Hundreds of his ordained priests have been attacking children, nuns, and indeed adults over centuries with impunity up until now, just to maintain control and for their personal sexual gratification. This is blowing my mind!!
    Is he really surprised that many of us are angry over this? What part of this does he not understand? What planet is he living on anyway?
    This has NOTHING to do with Satan. This has EVERYTHING to do with he and his organization not practising what they preach. Mike.

    • PJJ says:

      Sad but true, Mike. As much as I hoped that frankie would be the one to restore the church to a former glory, I see it is just more of the same albeit with a friendly smile. Like I said a few years ago during our litigation, the only way to get this church’s attention is not by poking them in the eye, but in hitting them where it hurts…their money. They seem to worship and care for that and their power more than they care about those who have been abused by their pervert collars. Shameful.

  4. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Indeed, is it any small wonder that integrity and credibility are suffering in the church these days? Make no mistake, I am not standing in judgement with the following points of fact.
    The church teaches that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered” and is an “aberration of natural law”. So please tell me what the hell is the “gay lobby” in the Vatican? Why isn’t there instead a “God” lobby in the Vatican? Why does the church have such a massive hang-up on human sexuality, to the almost complete exclusion of the six other deadly sins, worst of which is pride?
    I have a simple message to the pope’s synod on “sexual abuse of minors”. Your problems are far more serious and deeper than this. Please treat the root cause of these problems, not just put band-aids on the symptoms.
    If you are unwilling/unable to abide by your rules and regulations (doctrine and dogmas) then change them!!
    If you can’t keep it in your pants, you have NO business in the catholic priesthood. Mike,

  5. M Charmaine Boychuk says:

    If I subscribed to the Christian faith, and I had been taught that Satan prowls the world
    seeking the ruin of souls, where would Satan start? Would Satan start with lowly me, or would Satan start his work at the highest levels of the Christian faith? Is it possible, is it just possible, that the Pope has it wrong? Is it possible that Satan has infiltrated the Church at its highest level of power????

  6. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    I can’t believe this!! Cardinal Oulette from right here in Canada just stated on public television that “we didn’t know how serious an issue this was”!!
    Either this man is one of the stupidest, most ill-informed creatures to ever walk erect on this planet, or he is grossly misrepresenting himself and his organization.
    Deny, denigrate, and blame. Let me guess, the devil made you guys do it, huh Cardinal Oulette. Mike.

  7. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    I can’t believe my ears!!! Cardinal Marc Oulette has just stated on national TV that “we had no idea how serious this problem is”.!!!!!
    Either the cardinal is one of the stupidest, most ill-informed creatures to ever walk erect on this planet, or he is grossly misrepresenting himself and his organization.
    Is this ever going to end? How can these people claim, and expect us to believe, that they had “no idea” of the seriousness of these matters? Mike.

  8. Mike Mc says:

    Pope Francis is guilty too. This, I believe, will be the end of the church. I never thought I’d see this but it is happening.

    As for Cardinal Marc Oulette, he is faking this outlook. He isn’t a stupid man. He knows full well the disasterous situation in the church. Perhaps he’s in denial. Time to wake up and smell the horror.

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