The list of accusations against Bishop Zanchetta is long, in addition to sexual abuse, he must also answer for fraud and embezzlement. Just last Monday, the judiciary sentenced clergymen for abuse.
The suspended Argentine Curia Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who is under investigation in his homeland for embezzlement and allegations of sexual abuse, will face a first hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, by the competent judiciary in the Argentine province of Salta. This was said by his Spanish lawyer Javier Belda Iniesta, according to the daily newspaper "Pagina 12".
Zanchetta, who was appointed bishop of Oran by Pope Francis in 2013, has most recently faced allegations of sexual abuse from two seminary students. Other seminary students accuse their former bishop of assaultive behavior. Only two weeks ago, the offices of the diocese of Oran in northern Argentina were searched by the police. Zanchetta faces charges of fraud and embezzlement from 2013 to 2017.
Pope brought Zanchetta to Rome
In 2017, the bishop had offered his resignation to the pope, reportedly for health reasons. Some time later, Francis, who had friendly relations with Zanchetta when he was archbishop in Argentina, brought him to Rome to a post at the Vatican's asset management agency APSA.
According to the U.S. church portal "Crux," proceedings have been underway since the beginning of the year in the Vatican against Zanchetta, who has been relieved of his duties until further notice. However, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is in charge of the trial, will wait for the results of the prosecutorial investigation in Argentina before making its judgment.
In his home country, Zanchetta is accused of embezzling around 250.000 U.S. dollars (converted according to the exchange rate at the time) accused of fraud. The money from the provincial government was requested for the restoration of a rectory and a series of lectures at the local seminary, both of which never took place.
Long prison sentences for Argentine clergy for abuse
The judiciary in Argentina last Monday sentenced two Catholic clergymen to prison terms of 42 and 45 years for serious sexual abuse of disabled children. Another employee of the children's home in the province of Mendoza was sentenced to 18 years in prison. In total, the judges charged the three convicts with 25 cases of serious abuse at the Antonio Provolo Institute.
Investigations by investigative authorities began after a former student at the special school, now 19, made serious allegations against one of the two clergymen in 2016. The latter is said to have sexually abused the victim as early as the age of five.