The warnings started coming eight years ago, sent to some of the most powerful figures in the Roman Catholic Church, alerting them to a potential sex abuse crime that stood out from other church cases.
The profile of the alleged abuser, by itself, was unusual: not a priest, but rather a teenage altar boy, who was said to have coerced a peer to engage in various sex acts night after night over six years. And then there was the purported location: inside the Vatican’s own walls, at a youth seminary for the 15 or so altar boys who served the pope. . .
For a church trying to better contend with abuse and coverup across its empire, the warnings about Gabriele Martinelli were a direct institutional test. The events described in the anonymous letter, as well as in accounts from the alleged victim and a witness, were said to have taken place right under the church’s nose. By 2013, the complaints about Martinelli had been communicated to the pope and a who’s who of cardinals and bishops. The next year, the Vatican’s third-ranking official wrote a letter that referred to the accusations and asserted that the pope “knows the case well.” . . .
But a Washington Post review of more than 2,000 pages of documents, most never previously reported, reveals that more powerful figures within the church hierarchy discounted warnings as they facilitated Martinelli’s rise. Centrally responsible for Martinelli’s fate were Cardinal Angelo Comastri and Bishop Diego Coletti, who quickly dismissed the claims against Martinelli as “calumny,” according to Coletti’s own account. Neither prelate is involved in the trial or any other known church disciplinary process. (Read more from “Despite Being Accused of Sex Abuse Inside Vatican, Powerful Figures Helped This Teen Become a Priest” HERE)
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