- CNTV English - CCTV News

Catholic priest sentenced in Italy for child sex abuse

05-04-2012 08:59 BJT

ROME, May 3 (Xinhua) -- An Italian priest was sentenced in the northern city of Genoa on Thursday to nine and a half years in prison for child sex abuse and attempting to recruit minors into prostitution.

Father Riccardo Seppia from the nearby town of Sastri Ponente was also ordered to pay a fine of 28,000 euros (36,821 U.S. dollars) for his crimes that have rocked the Catholic Church in Italy.

The prosecution had requested a longer sentence of almost 12 years.

Seppia has been in jail since he was arrested in May last year on paedophilia charges and alleged cocaine use when investigators revealed recordings of tapped phone calls in which Seppia told a drug dealer to arrange sexual encounters with minors.

Before being sentenced on Thursday, Seppia, a parish priest in the village of Sastri Ponente, asked for forgiveness in a prepared statement, saying that what he had done was "wrong."

"I ask forgiveness for my moral behavior because I made mistakes," the statement said. "I made a mistake conducting myself in that way."

The Catholic Church in Savona recently began offering priests a course designed to stop paedophilia after Seppia's child abuse sex scandal left the community shocked and shaken.

Seppia's case was particularly damaging as Genoa Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, who is also head of the Italian Bishops Conference, had been working with Pope Benedict XVI to establish tough new international guidelines on how bishops should handle clerical sex abuse.

Referring to tapped telephone conversations, investigators alleged that Seppia asked for sexual encounters with young and vulnerable boys.

"I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger," he allegedly said. "Fourteen-year-olds are alright. Look for needy boys who have family problems."

The bishop for Savona-Noli, Monsignor Vittorio Lupi, recently sent a letter to priests, teachers and others involved in church activities or associations to promote the new course to improve awareness and stop clerical sexual abuse.

The Catholic Church has suffered from the widespread impact of sex abuse scandals around the world in countries including the United States, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and Austria and has been accused of failing to take enough action to tackle the problem or bring those responsible to justice.

Two investigations led by prosecutor Giovanni Battista Ferro are currently being conducted into pedophilia in Catholic dioceses in Savona and surrounding areas.

They include a number of sexual abuse claims that allegedly took place between the early 1990s and 2000.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program