Former Seminarian Alleges Francis-Confidant Bishop Zanchetta Protected Priest Who Abused Him

A former seminarian is alleging that he received pressure and threats from Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a close friend of Pope Francis, after he complained about abuse he received from a priest in Zanchetta’s diocese. The young man also provided testimony against Zanchetta during the March 2022 trial of the Argentinian bishop, who was given a prison sentence of four and a half years.

On May 15, the trial of Father Carlos Fernando Páez will be heard in Argentina’s northwestern province of Salta. An ex-seminarian for the Diocese of Orán, using the alias Kevin Montes, has alleged that Fr. Páez manipulated and sexually abused him when Montes was a seminarian for the diocese.

Montes, now 26, was an Orán seminarian from February 28, 2015 through 2019. He claims that Páez abused him during his time in the seminary and while on parish placement, and that Zanchetta turned a blind eye at first.

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