Italian pro-Berlusconi priest in paedophilia probe

This video from the USA is called Boston Clergy Abuse Scandal – Geoghan Documents Released.

From the British daily The Independent:

‘Celebrity priest’ in paedophilia probe

A “celebrity” priest, founder of an organisation with more than 280 drug rehabilitation centres around the world, is under investigation in central Italy for alleged paedophilia.

Don Pierino Gelmini is one of the church’s best-known faces on Italian television, a close friend of top politicians including former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, a rent-a-quote figure with right-wing views on drugs and family values.

In 2004, while still Prime Minister, Mr Berlusconi made the 80-year-old priest, founder of “Comunita Incontro”, a public gift of 10 billion lira (£3.5m) for the organisation’s work.

But yesterday La Stampa newspaper revealed that the priest has been under investigation, on suspicion of sexually molesting young people, for more than six months. “It seems that the accusations are numerous and coherent,” the paper reported. “They revolve around a closed community in which a figure of enormous charisma seems not to have restricted himself to taking care of souls.”

Gelmini’s anti-Semitism: here.

11 thoughts on “Italian pro-Berlusconi priest in paedophilia probe

  1. 2007-08-03 15:58
    2 addicts say priest abused them
    82- year- old father runs drug rehab organisation
    (ANSA) – Rome, August 3 – Father Pierino Gelmini, a well-known 82-year-old priest who runs a drug rehabilitation centre, has been accused by two addicts of sexually abusing them, it emerged on Friday.

    The priest is under investigation by prosecutors in Terni after two men who had been kicked out of his centre complained to police that they had been abused.

    Sources close to the investigation said the alleged abuses took place 18 months ago.

    Gelmini is the founder of Comunita’ Incontro (Community Encounter), an organisation based in the central city of Amelia aimed at helping drug addicts, alcoholics and the marginalised.

    The priest strongly denied the abuse accusations, saying in a TV interview on Friday: “I am suffering but at the same time, I’m very calm because 44 years of work cannot be wiped out by these insinuations… It is a cross I must bear”.

    “I will continue my mission whatever it costs. I will fall when God wills but until then, I want to remain among the people I help,” he said.

    Gelmini’s lawyer Lanfranco Frezza said that “these accusations are completely groundless” and that he suspected the priest was the “victim of a vendetta or extortion”.

    He noted that the two men who had accused the priest had been ejected from the rehabilitation centre and stressed that no charges had been brought against Gelmini.

    In Italy, prosecutors are obliged to investigate all reports and allegations of wrongdoing.

    Another collaborator of Gelmini’s, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the two addicts had been thrown out after attempting to rob Gelmini and burgling his secretary.

    The collaborator said they had been sent to the centre as an alternative to jail and that after Gelmini reported them to the police, they threatened to take revenge.

    He added that the two were “tall, strong, fit and covered with tattooes – I don’t think it would be easy for an 82-year-old man to abuse them”.

    Gelmini’s spokesman Alessandro Meluzzi, a psychologist and former MP who has worked with the priest for more than 25 years, confirmed that Gelmini had been recently questioned by Terni prosecutors.

    “We are very distressed because all that Father Pierino has achieved in these years is at stake… the Comunita’ Incontro is an open and transparent organisation. We are talking about a man who has done nothing but serve Christ and the Church for the past 60 years,” he said. Political officials, particularly in the centre-right opposition, rallied to the priest’s defence.

    Opposition chief Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party said that “Gelmini is the victim of these slanderous lies which will soon be exposed for what they are”.

    Daniela Santanche’ of the rightist National Alliance said that Gelmini was a “saint” who had “saved thousands of young people”.

    Comunita’ Incontro has 164 centres in Italy and 74 abroad including Thailand, Brazil and Bolivia and has helped more than 300,000 drug addicts since it was first set up in 1963.

    Gelmini is highly esteemed by Italy’s political class.

    When he turned 80 in January 2005, a host of ministers and other top politicians turned up for his birthday bash including then premier Berlusconi, who donated 5 million euros to Gelmini’s organisation.


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