Pope Francis Defended Bishop Who Admitted Abuse Cover-Ups

The clergy sexual abuse scandal is slowly gathering steam in Italy with increasing media coverage, criminal convictions and the launch Monday of an investigative podcast dedicated to a case that tangentially involved Pope Francis.

A Sicilian court last week convicted a priest of sexual violence and attempted sexual violence against three minors and sentenced him to four and a half years in prison. It also held his diocese, Piazza Armerina in Sicily, liable for separate civil damages and legal fees, a significant ruling given the influence the Catholic Church wields in all aspects of Italian society, particularly in small-town Sicily.

Piazza Armeria Bishop Rosario Gisana was recorded admitting to having covered up for the priest, the Rev. Giuseppe Rugolo. He was recorded saying he had covered up for another priest who did far worse and describing Rugolo’s actions as mere “stupidities” of a young man.

Continue reading at the Associated Press