Sentence on probation

A senior Vatican judge has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for molesting an 18-year-old and possessing child pornography images. The accused is also a priest.

Italian media reported Monday that the sentence of an Italian court has been suspended. The accused, Pietro Amenta, is a priest from southern Italy and a judge at the Court of Appeal of the Roman Rota.

In possession of pornographic images

According to the reports, in early March 2017, Amenta stalked and harassed an 18-year-old Romanian in Rome, who then turned to a police patrol. During further investigations, officials found 80 pornographic images of underage victims on his computer. The Roman Rota (Rota Romana) is one of the three highest ecclesiastical courts and, as the final instance, is primarily responsible for most cases of marriage annulment.

Two weeks ago, Vatican prosecutor Gian Piero Milano, in his address at the opening of the Vatican judicial year, had mentioned, among other things, two cases under investigation for offenses against minors. Whether this includes the case of Amenta, however, is open, as Milano did not mention any names. According to media reports, the Vatican is also investigating a suspected case of abuse against a priest near Naples.

Case lies with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed on request that the case – as usual – is with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In addition, the Vatican judiciary is dealing with the case of a priest who was an employee at the Holy See embassy in Washington. He is accused of possessing child pornographic material.

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