Church abuse scandal (iconic image) © Evandro Inetti
According to media reports, the Vatican has opened investigations against Curia Bishop Gustavo Zenchetto in Argentina. Investigations under canon law are already underway against him by the Archbishop of Tucuman and the public prosecutor's office.
As reported by the local newspaper "El Tribuno" (online edition Thursday), Catholic seminarians are being questioned in Oran, northern Argentina, accusing the former diocesan leader of sexual assault. The testimonies, which would be collected by Bishop Carlos Sanchez of Tucuman, should serve as the basis for a future canonical trial, it said.
The accused is Gustavo Zanchetta, a high employee of the Vatican property administration. The now 55-year-old had been appointed bishop of Oran in one of Pope Francis' first personnel decisions in July 2013.
After he relinquished the diocesan leadership in August 2017, the pope appointed him in December of the same year to the specially created post of assessor in the administration of goods, the treasury of the Holy See.
Participation in retreat
In January, the Vatican cited problems with local clergy as the reason for Zanchetta's resignation from diocesan leadership. The bishop has been accused of authoritarian behavior, but there has been "not a single allegation of sexual abuse," Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said.
Irritation was caused by Zanchetta's participation last week in a week of retreat with the pope in Ariccia, southeast of Rome. Lenten spiritual retreats are usually addressed to a narrow circle of curia leaders.