An Italian priest accused of sexually abusing choir boys in a seminary and another priest who allegedly facilitated that abuse will go on trial in the Vatican next week.

Priests to be tried in Vatican choir boys abuse case

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An Italian priest accused of sexually abusing choir boys in a seminary and another priest who allegedly facilitated that abuse will go on trial in the Vatican next week.

The alleged abuse took place in 2011 to 2012 at the pre-seminary of St Pius X, an institution located on Vatican grounds that trains choir boys and is very close to Pope Francis’s residence.

Gabriele Martinelli is suspected of carrying out repeated sexual assaults on at least one victim when he was a seminarian aged 21 and lived in the building.

Martinelli was made a priest in 2017.

The boarders at St Pius X are mainly children and adolescents who stay there while they attend a private school in Rome, and participate as choristers in the masses celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica.

Enrico Radice, rector of the residence at the time of the alleged events, is accused of covering the abuse up.

The Vatican said last year the pair would be tried. The first hearing will be held on October 14, it said.

An investigation was launched into the allegations following the publishing in 2017 of a book called “Original Sin” by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, which detailed the alleged abuse.

In it, Polish seminarian Kamil Tadeusz Jarzembowksi said he had witnessed repeated sexual assaults on his roommate.

He claimed that Martinelli came to his room to have relations with the boy — who was then aged 17.

He said he had witnessed such acts up to 140 times and that Martinelli used “power and intimidation” to impose his will on young seminarians.

Jarzembowksi, who says he is gay, accused the priests of double standards, saying: “During the day, they are homophobes and at night they unwind in gay discos.”

The Pole, who lived there between the ages of 13 and 18, denounced Martinelli to superiors and also in a letter written to cardinals along with two other seminarians.

Shortly after the book’s release, Martinelli’s alleged victim gave an interview, without revealing his identity, in which he said he had been sexually abused in his first year at the pre-seminary, at the age of 13. Agence France-Presse

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (March 4) said he would have raised the salaries of public school teachers if the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t happen.

In a speech at the inauguration of two public school buildings in Valenzuela City, Duterte said he was already “saving” funds to raise the salaries of public school teachers.

Duterte previously said he wanted to increase the pay of public school teachers after doing the same for soldiers and policemen in 2018.

“Nag-iipon na po ako sa totoo lang kasi sabi ko next ang teacher,” he said.

“Now, when COVID came, bagsak talaga ang ekonomiya. Sarado ang mga factories, manufacturing whatever kasi takot nga eh. There was a lockdown. And between the economy and the health of the people with the pandemic whirling around, I thought it wise to cast my lot with the interest of the people in their health,” Duterte added.

An entry-level public school teacher with salary grade 11 currently earns P23,877 monthly under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).

In a speech on June 13, 2019, Duterte said he was “working on” his promise to raise the pay of public school teachers, but said it was difficult since there were “million[s] of teachers” while there were only 160,000 policemen and 130,000 military personnel.

“It’s easy. That’s why their salaries have doubled,” Duterte said.

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By Prince Golez

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“Let us continue observing and practicing health and safety protocols while waiting for more Covid-19 vaccines to reach the Philippines,” Duterte said at the arrival ceremony for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine Thursday evening.

“We may not be out of the woods yet but we are making progress and the end is in sight, and with your cooperation, we will overcome this pandemic and ensure the health and safety of everyone,” he added.

The President also stressed that in a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is.

“As I have said before, these vaccines should be treated as a global public good. the need for international solidarity and cooperation cannot be made clearer than this pandemic because no one is safe globally until everyone is safe,” he also said.

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