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Vatican judge accused of possessing child pornography accepts plea deal

A judge on a top Vatican tribunal was given a 14-month suspended sentence by an Italian court for possessing child pornography and sexual molestation. He then resigned his position on the Roman Rota, the tribunal.

According to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Mgr Pietro Amenta, a judge on the Rota, a court that deals mainly with marriage cases, accepted the terms of plea bargain on 14th February.

In an email to Catholic News Service on 21st February, Paloma Garcia Ovejero, vice director of the Vatican press office, said the Italian monsignor ‘resigned as prelate auditor of the Roman Rota last week’ following his conviction.

Mgr Amenta was detained by police in March 2017 after he was accused of fondling an 18-year-old man in a public square in Rome. The young man followed him and called the police, who subsequently took Mgr Amenta into custody, Italian newspapers reported.

In the investigation that followed, police apparently found pornographic images involving minors on the monsignor’s personal computer. The Italian press also said the investigators discovered that Mgr Amenta was accused of ‘obscene acts’ in 1991 and sexual molestation in 2004. Neither of those allegations led to a conviction.