Italy’s top prelate visits Perugia parish whose pastor was arrested

Esposito Pornography Child Exploitation

Title: Italy’s top prelate visits Perugia parish whose pastor was arrested
Author: Elise Ann Allen
Publisher: Crux
Date: 06AUG2021

ROME – Days after the arrest of a parish priest in Perugia on charges of child pornography and prostitution, Italian Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, who oversees the archdiocese, visited the pastor’s community in a show of support and solidarity.

During a special Aug. 4 visit to the parish of San Feliciano, in Perugia, Umbria, Italian Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti said that “If the seriousness of the facts, especially concerning the minors involved, attributed to the priest Don Vincenzo Esposito are true, this story demonstrates a shocking human, moral, and religious degradation.”

Bassetti, who is the archbishop of Perugia and president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI), visited the community following the arrest earlier this week of Esposito, 63, on charges of child pornography and child prostitution.

A native of Sicily, Esposito has overseen a parish in the San Feliciano neighborhood of Magione, in the regional province of Perugia, since his appointment there in 2013.

He was arrested over the weekend following an investigation by the Italian military police, called the Carabinieri, of Termini Imerese, in Sicily, and is currently behind bars at a jail in Spoleto, Umbria, awaiting interrogation.

Esposito is accused of making sexual advances to four minor boys through the video chat applications WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and with sending money to the boys, who are under 18, in exchange for explicit images of themselves.

A 50-year-old woman, the mother of one of the victims who is 17, has also been arrested for allegedly receiving payments from Esposito in exchange for the explicit calls or videos of her son.

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