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CALABRIA, Italy (ChurchMilitant.com) - A bishop reportedly helped an Italian priest cover up his alleged trysts with teenage boys. The priest was arrested last week after a police investigation concluded he had been using a gay dating app to hook up with minors, and his bishop, Francesco Milito, is implicated in protecting him from the law.
Two months ago, police found Fr. Antonello Tropea, 44, with a teenage boy, parked in a secluded area. At the time, Fr. Tropea claimed to be the boy's physical education teacher, but the police were suspicious and began an investigation.
Police wiretaps showed that Fr. Tropea was using a gay dating app, Grindr, to hook up with teenagers and men, paying them to have sex with him in his car and the rectory. Father Tropea pretended to be a sales rep using the alias "Nicola," presumably using the name of his parish San Nicola di Mira (St. Nicholas of Myra) in Messignadi.
Reports say Bp. Milito was warned about Fr. Tropea's scandalous activity by parishioners and by an anonymous letter allegedly written by a nun. The police investigation reveals that Bp. Milito warned Fr. Tropea back in July to "avoid speaking to the police" about any of these instances.
While it appears that no legal action has yet been taken against Milito, Judge Antonio Bark accused the monsignor of failing to take neither the "precautionary measures nor the minimum verification of charges against the suspect."
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