Milan, May 13 (IANS/AKI) An Italian priest accused of abusing dozens of children over a decade has agreed to pay 125,000 euros compensation to families of some of his alleged victims ahead of a criminal trial opening in June.
Mauro Inzoli, who is due to stand trial in the northern Italian town of Cremona for sexual abuse of minors, agreed to pay 25,000 euros to five of his alleged victims’ families at a preliminary hearing on Thursday.
The families of the victims, whose current ages range from 12 to 16, had been considering becoming civil parties at 66-year-old Inzoli’s fast-track trial which opens on June 29.
Inzoli faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted of eight acts of sexual violence against minors aged 10 to 16 between 2004 and 2008.
The alleged sexual abuse took place at parish offices where Inzoli led prayer groups, and in hotels during summer trips with pupils from a high-school in the Lombardy town of Crema where he was headmaster between 2004, according to prosecutors.
Fifteen other alleged paedophilia cases against Inzoli have been timed out by Italy’s statute of limitations. The alleged victims in these cases are now adults.
Pope Benedict XVI defrocked Inzoli in 2012 after he was first accused of paedophilia but Pope Francis reinstated him in 2014, ordering him to stay away from minors and retire to “a life of prayer, penitence and humble discretion”.
An outcry over Inzoli’s treatment led to criminal proceedings being initiated against him in the Italian town of Cremona, after Franco Bordo reported the case to prosecutors.
Vatican has reportedly refused to hand over details of its own investigation of the priest, who is an ex-confessor of senators.
Inzoli is also known for his passion for cigars, expensive restaurants and luxury cars, which earned him the nickname “Don Mercedes” in the Italian press.
Close to 850 priests have been defrocked for sex abuse in the last decade and hundreds of millions have been paid to settle compensation claims by victims following investigations by Church tribunals.