Former altar boy alleges abuser wanted sex in St. Peter's at Vatican trial

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The alleged victim of sexual abuse in a youth seminary in the Vatican said in court on Wednesday that his abuser wanted to have sex in a bathroom behind an altar in St. Peter’s Basilica but he resisted the advances.

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The alleged victim, who is now 28 and identified only as L.G., testified in the latest hearing of the trial of two priests, one charged with abuse and the other with covering up the attacks.

L.G. has alleged that Gabriele Martinelli, now 28 and now a priest, repeatedly forced him to have sex, mostly while they were both minors in the Pius X Pre-Seminary.

The seminary houses altar boys who serve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica – the domed papal church at the heart of the Vatican – and are thinking of becoming priests.

The events are alleged to have taken place between 2007 and 2012 and Martinelli later went on to become a priest in northern Italy.

L.G. said that Martinelli would slip into his bed at night and force him to touch him and also to have sex in another room. Martinelli, who testified last month, has denied the allegations.

During a three-hour hearing on Wednesday L.G. said Martinelli had tried to convince him to have sex in a bathroom behind one of the altars in St. Peter’s Basilica while both were due to serve Mass.

“I was shocked,” L.G. said, adding that he refused to follow Martinelli, who was naked under his cassock, into the bathroom.

The other defendant is Father Enrico Radice, 72, who was rector at the time and who is charged with covering up the alleged abuse.

The prosecution says Radice did not block Martinelli from becoming a priest after he left the pre-seminary even though he knew about the abuse.

Radice, who had given Martinelli supervisory responsibilities over the other altar boys, denies this.

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