Vatican Judge Sentenced for Child Porn

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by Juliana Freitag  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 19, 2018   

Msgr. Pietro Amenta has served on the Roman Rota since 2012

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UPDATE, February 20, 2018: Italian media are reporting that Msgr. Pietro Amenta has stepped down from his position as judge on the Roman Rota in light of his recent convictions for child porn and sexual assault. Vatican spokeswoman Paloma Garcia Ovejero confirmed Monday that he resigned "a few days ago." 
 
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A judge on the Holy See's highest court has been sentenced for sexual assault and possession of child porn.
 
Monsignor Pietro Amenta, priest in the diocese of Matera and auditor of the Roman Rota, was sentenced Thursday to 14 months in prison, suspended, following charges by an 18-year-old Romanian man claiming Amenta molested him last March in San Giovanni di Dio Square in Rome. 
 
The priest, whose distinguished Vatican career also includes 15 years in the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, crossed paths with the youth between the stalls of a local market. According to the police reconstruction, the young man, who was waiting for his girlfriend, had his genitals groped by Msgr. Amenta, who touched the man a second time, in spite of his protests.
 
After being shoved away by the Romanian, Amenta apologized and tried to flee the scene, but the victim followed him and called the police. "You don't know who I am," Amenta threatened him.
 
A local officer immediately identified the prelate, who has a history with the police: complaints were filed against Amenta in 1991 for indecent exposure and in 2004 for sexual harassment. In 2013, he himself filed a complaint charging robbery by two transsexuals. 
 
When the police raided Msgr. Amenta's house, they found 82 images of male child pornography in his computer, which he initially denied downloading, later reversing course and pleading guilty in a plea bargain. 
 
Amenta's main task within the Roman Rota was to handle cases of marriage nullity. In a 2013 interview, when asked about the increase in divorce rates, Amenta commented, "The number of divorces continues to rise for so many reasons: psychological fragility of the new generations, the concept of love inspired by skin-deep feelings, corrupted by the ruling pansexuality ... ." 
 
He also said he never thought he "possessed the right qualities to help the Pope in the universal government of the Church." 
 
Amenta is likely aware of the fact that homosexuality has increasingly been presented as grounds for annulment. Italian newspaper Libero touched on the subject when reporting on Msgr. Amenta's sentence: "This time, it's impossible to overlook the fact that [the scandal] includes the Roman Rota, where there's recently been a boom of nullity requests due to the spouse's homosexuality."
 
When opening the judicial year at the end of January, the Vatican's chief prosecutor Gian Piero Milano revealed two investigations of child pornography were underway: one involving Msgr. Amenta, and the other involving Msgr. Carlo Alberto Capella, then a diplomat in the Nunciature of Washington, D.C. at the time he got caught for sharing child porn on a website from the computer of a Canadian parish during Christmas 2016.
 
"Investigations are still in the preliminary stage, being conducted conscientiously and in absolute confidentiality, in respect of all the people involved," declared the prosecutor, while also affirming the Vatican's "determination" to prosecute the offenders. 
 

 

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