ITALIAN BISHOP IN NEW SEX ABUSE PROBE
Prosecutors in Cassino, south of Rome, opened a probe into Bishop Gerardo Antonazzo after receiving a letter from a seminarian accusing the bishop of sexually molesting him and seven other adults, La Repubblica said.
"I must stress how utterly unfounded the accusations are," Antonazzo was quoted as saying, adding that he had not been informed that he was under investigation.
Prosecutors said the probe was ongoing, refuting earlier reports that they were ready to arrest the bishop.
"The documents (on Antonazzo) have been sent to the Holy See, so it can evaluate eventual measures to be taken," the online newspaper Il Tempo said.
Sex abuse scandals have dogged the Catholic Church in recent years with alleged victims breaking their silence in the United States, Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Mexico and Poland.
Bishop Antonazzo is not the first prelate to be accused of sexually abusing seminarians and young priests. A short time ago Cardinal Keith O'Brien the Archbishop of Edinburgh, Scotland had to resign after it was revealed that he had abused seminarians and young priests over a long number of years - sometimes using the Confession Box to seduce them.
It was also revealed that O'Brien was a personal friend of the UK's famous paedophile Jimmy Saville.
The cases of O'Brien and now Antonazzo are by no means unique.
Priests who have worked in the Vatican have told me: "The best way to get promotion in the Vatican is to do your religious superiors sexual favours".
As a seminarian and young priest myself I had the experience of senior clergy attempting to seduce me.
There was active homosexuality in both the seminaries I attended.
The sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults being molested by clerics has being highlighted in the media.
But there is a whole hidden scandal in the Church of the sexual abuse of seminarians, young priests and nuns by those in power in the Church.