Argentine Bishop Convicted of Sexually Abusing Seminarians

The former Bishop of Oran, Argentina, was sentenced on Friday, March 4 to four and a half years in prison for the sexual abuse of two former seminarians. Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta was convicted of sexual abuse aggravated by his position as a minister of religion in a decision handed down by judges in his former diocese.

Newsroom (07/03/2022 10:00 PM Gaudium Press) Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, 58, pleaded not guilty to the charge of “aggravated continued simple sexual abuse committed by a recognized minister of religion.”

He was charged with abusing two seminarians, identified by the acronyms “G.G.F.L.” and “C.M.” The two victims said that Bishop Zanchetta had made “lewd proposals” and had requested “massages” from the two.

After he was sentenced on Friday, Zanchetta was immediately placed under the custody of corrections officials; he will be held in a regional facility and transferred within days to an Argentine prison, where he will serve his sentence.

The trial, initially set to begin in October, was delayed four months at his attorney’s request while waiting for the files of the canonical process that Zanchetta is undergoing at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Vatican has not yet publicized any information regarding the canonical process and any determinations that have been reached regarding the former Bishop.

Zanchetta’s trial took place over three weeks. While the Bishop pled not guilty and maintained his innocence, victims and witnesses testified that in 2016, he abused seminarians at John XXIII Seminary and at his own residence.

In addition, the Bishop serially pressured seminarians to engage in sexual conduct, displayed pornographic selfies and other images on his phone and pressured seminarians for massages and other contacts while supplying them with alcohol, according to testimony at trial.

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Argentine prosecutors had requested that Zanchetta be sentenced to more than four years incarceration, telling judges Thursday that trial testimony established “the veracity, plausibility, and credibility of the victims.”

After the Bishop’s conviction on Friday, the magistrates ordered the immediate arrest of the Bishop and demanded that he be registered “in the Genetic Data Bank.”

(Via CNA and the Pillar)

Compiled by Raju Hasmukh

 

 

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