ITALY- Italian clergy sex victim detained

Italian clergy sex victim detained

He joins SNAP at news conference

Man tried to give petitions to Vatican

But police held him Friday for two hours

He accuses voting cardinal of hiding predators

Prelate is urged to stay away from papal conclave

SNAP: “Such intimidation & harassment is common

Group says Vatican should launch simple complaint mechanism


Holding signs and childhood photos at a news conference, an Italian clergy sex abuse victim will

--discuss being detained by police on Friday while trying to deliver petitions to the Vatican,

--explain why he thinks an Italian cardinal is complicit and should skip the conclave.

SNAP will

--praise the alleged victim and express solidarity with him,

-- urge church officials to stop intimidating and harassing victims, and

-- publicly push for the creation of a simple Vatican complaint mechanism


TODAY, -----Sunday, March 10 at 3:00 pm


Orange Hotel, 86 Via Crescenzio 00193, Roma +39.06.6868969


An Italian man, Francesco Zanardi ([email protected]) who was abused as a child in the 1980s by a now-convicted Italian priest (and speaks some English). Joining him are two leaders of the US-based international support group SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (


Zanardi, an alleged clergy sex abuse victim, was detained by police for two hours on Friday after he tried to deliver 12,500 petition signatures to Vatican officials.

He has also gone on a hunger strike walked 350 miles from Savona to Rome in 19 days to dramatize his plight. At age 14, Zanardi says he was repeatedly abused by Fr. Nello Giraudo, who has been convicted of child sex crimes and accused by others.

(See 2011 AP story by Nicole Winfield and

Zanardi accuses Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, one of the 115 papal electors, of hiding Fr. Giraudo and other predator priests. He wants Calcagno to stay home from the conclave, and has gathered 12,500 signatures on a petition about this. (After Fr. Giraudo’s conviction, in Feb. 2012, Calcagno was promoted from bishop to cardinal.)

Al Jazeera’s Claudio Lavagna reports (in English) that Zanardi secretly tape recorded hundreds of talks with church officials (including one in which the alleged predator essentially confesses to abuse and another in which a Savnoa diocesan official admits knowing that Fr. Giraudo is a child molester and “has raped half the town.”

A link to the three minute news report:

A link to three documents about this case in Italian will soon be posted on our website. (Zanardi has many more.)

One is reportedly a 2003 letter from then-Bishop Calcagno to then-Cardinal Ratzinger asking what to do about Fr. Giraudo because of his alleged sexual abuses of Savona children.

Two others are reportedly documents written by Savona church officials about Fr. Giraudo's personal history, and reportedly includes this sentence: "Nulla è trapelato sui giornali e non ci sono denunce in corso," essentially meaning "so far nothing of this case came out in the newspapers and none of the abused have pressed charges."

Zanardi, who says he was abused for several years in the 1980s, has a website is Francesco

The Italian television program ‘Le Iene’ has also covered Zanardi’s case. Here are more articles about the case:

Both Fr. Giraudo and Zanardi live in Savona. (Fr. Giraudo was given a one year suspended sentence.)

SNAP says other victims have been similarly ignored, rebuffed or harassed by Vatican officials. In 2010, four victims holding a news conference near St. Peter's Square were detained by Vatican police.

The Vatican nuncio to Ireland refused to cooperate with a government investigation into clergy sex crimes claiming that the request hadn’t been delivered through the proper diplomatic channels.

And a lawsuit sent to the Vatican officials returned a clergy sex abuse lawsuit to its sender, marking it “unwanted” and “undesirable.”

SNAP will urge the next pope and current Vatican officials (including recently-hired Vatican publicist Greg Burke) to create a simple, prompt complaint and communications mechanism so that clergy sex abuse victims who wish to report to church figures can do so safely without threat of harassment.


(in Italy) David Clohessy's Italian cell 339 215 7504 ([email protected]), Barbara Dorris' Italian cell 334 791 2239 ([email protected]). Our hotel: NH Villa Campagna (Via Pio IV, 6) Phone 011 39 06 393731 (Clohessy-Room 220, Dorris-Room 320)

Showing 8 comments

  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-03-11 17:33:23 -0500
    Again, I say to all of those who are trying hard to achieve drastic change in the Catholic Church, specifically regarding pedophile predator priests and prelates;

  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-03-11 17:29:30 -0500
    Mr. Verhoff, I do not deny what you’re saying may also be needed. But my inclination and reason for writing on this site is to continue to encourage all the victim’s and supporters of the victim’s rights, all of the members of SNAP and other groups like it, to remember they now have worldwide attention and momentum and for those fighting and struggling there in Rome at Vatican City today, “to strike while the iron is hot”! To use this incredible moment in time, with the help of all who believe in the church’s need to change now; and to remind them and remember for all us to believe in the possibility of the devine intervention of God, the Almighty, Christ and the Holy Spirit, on behalf of both the victims and the heretofore, innocent members of the church, to use this momentum, now! Carpe diem!!! TELL THEM, TELL THEM NOW, TELL THEM OVER AND OVER, AND IF NEEDS BE, OVER AGAIN! TELL ALL OF THE PEOPLE THERE, CATHOLICS AND NON-CATHOLICS ALIKE. PLEASE YELL, SCREAM, CHANT, WHISPER, PRAY, POST SIGNS, GIVE INTERVIEWS, THROW LEAFLETS ON THE GROUND WHERE PEOPLE WALK AND WILL SEE, THAT READ: TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: THE ABUSE OF GOD’S CHILDREN BY PEDOPHILE PRIESTS AND LAITY, MUST CEASE! IT MUST STOP NOW!!!

    If the current majority of Cardinals about to start this conclave are literally and truly too ignorant and narcissistic to yet realize that this church, the Catholic Church of the Twenty-first Century, A.D., NEEDS reformation and healing now, that this church NEEDS to listen to the “least” of its parishoners’ pleas now, maybe God will strike some of them dead on the spot!!?! Younger people have died unexpectedly and perhaps the Holy Trinity has already intervened SOME recently, on behalf of the children and all the victims of pedophile priests, in influencing the Pope to resign, exactly at this time!!! I think we should all believe that this is in fact the time and place to CONTINUE this nearly overwhelming EFFORT. Carpe diem!!! NOW IS THE TIME.
  • Robert Verhoff
    commented 2013-03-11 14:23:07 -0500
    more lobbying and protesting needs to be done in DC. the white house, congress and the senate. this is in addition to the state capitals. I believe by now everyone is aware of this “problem” but it doesn’t seem to be sinking into peoples subconscience. newscasters seem to be more interested if that flippant and “jolly” Cardanal Dolan could be the first American Pope. they don’t mention his cover-ups in Wisconsin. this doesn’t seem to bother them. in this atmospher it will be a long long road ahead.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-03-11 13:00:43 -0500
    Again, I say to all of those who are trying hard to achieve drastic change in the Catholic Church, specifically regarding pedophile predator prelates;
    Please remember what has IN FACT finally been achieved here in America, and in Ireland and places like these, and finally at the Vatican by Pope XVI resigning. REMEMBER THESE THINGS. I pray that you let it give you inspiration and hope to continue to PERSEVERE, and BE UNYIELDING IN THIS FIGHT. REMEMBER.
  • Nancy Mayer
    commented 2013-03-11 12:26:12 -0500
    It is simple…where ever there is a catholic population there have been children and vulnerable adults abused by priests – and bishops and cardinals who have covered it up. The highest level of the Vatican has known this and been complicit in the cover up. The only movement towards justice and truth has been driven by the victims and their supporters.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-03-10 19:44:55 -0500
    Still, I keep trying to have hope. I see a light at the end of the tunnel of despair. The light is shown by people like the founders and leaders of SNAP, and, by the documentary maker Alex Gibney, and you and me and so many others now. We won’t be silenced. We will say what it is, that needs to be said about pedophile Catholic priests and those who aid and abet them.

    To you, M. Skiendzielewski and others like you, I would say: Stay strong. Do not give up. I think there is a chance now, with all the global communications available to the laity, that it will happen in our lifetime, that the leaders of the Catholic church will decide to concede that these changes are not only necessary, but for the good of the church, (and themselves), as well.

    Thay are on notice, now. Because the heinous acts of pedophile preists are being made known all around the world. At some level, they know, they do know that they will no longer be able to continue, that they will no longer be able to hide and finally no longer able to offend.

    Children all over the world need us all, to help remove this scourge from the Catholic church; and in fact, to help remove it anywhere we are able. But, especially the American “cradle catholics” (as they call themselves) and their children, many of whom are also baptised as Catholics since birth…and, their children. The grandchildren of my generation, only a few of whom are still being raised catholic in this country; they are no longer being raised Catholic precisely because of this scourge, this “plague” upon the church…these Americans whose parents have left the church in this country, have left the church because of this reason, alone. And, what’s more, the same is happening in virtually all the developed countries. Think about it, what sane and normal parent would actually want any child of their own, to be abused by a pedophile priest???? Personally, I don’t any parents who would!

    I think it’s harder to see this groundswell movement in and from, Italy. It’s harder to see only because the Vatican is there and the denial is more omnipresent. But trust me, abandonement of the Catholic church is happening in America, Canada, Ireland and many, many European countries because of this issue.

    Thankfully, what this does mean is that for the time being, the church will lose both status, power and money. Please, have hope in that although America does not have the most Catholics here and thus in that regard seemingly may not be the most influencial country in guiding the future of the church, have hope in remembering what we do have in abundance is a healthily developed secular judicial system, albeit slow. It is healthy, particularly in comparison to what we on this website have already pointed out as the insipid, anemic “judiciary” of the Catholic church, nonetheless. And please bear in mind that our (the American)current system of dealing with convicted pedophiles, of requiring them by law to be registered as sex offenders, etc., may well end up being the salvation of the world’s Catholic heirarchy, in that our system of dealing with peodophiles may be exactly the “medicine” the church does immediately need to adopt.

    I at least, for now, will try to continue to have hope that this will happen not only in our lifetime, but in the near future! In fact, with the selection of the next Pope. I will continue to think that perhaps precisely because of people like Roger Mahoney who apparently still considers himself “above the law”, that he and others like him will (most importantly) finally…finally realize that in fact, they and the church both, need this change now.

    (To use an analogy from a different spere of human existence: Think about it. Who would have thought, just a few years ago, that Lance Armstrong would ever have admitted his guilt in the use of performance enhancing drugs? I would say, not many. The fact is, that he finally did.)

    To all of those who are trying hard to achieve drastic change in the Catholic Church, specifically regarding pedophile predator prelates, please believe in your perseverance being effective. Please remember what has finally been achieved here and in Ireland and places like these. Remember! I pray that you let it give you inspiration and hope to continue. Persevere.
  • Mike Skiendzielewski
    commented 2013-03-10 15:21:41 -0500
    The Catholic Church leadership – money and power. Let us crush the legitimate protest and dissent that calls attention to the destruction of the bodies, souls, minds and spirits of our children and young adults at the hands of credibly accused clergy sexual abusers and the leadership that covers up for them and their criminal conduct.
    Whether it is in the United States or in Italy, the Catholic Church leadership fails to do what “Jesus would do.”

    (Posted in comment section at Italian news article site)
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-03-09 22:43:46 -0600
    I do not know if it is possible to persuade the church officials to accept and comply with your suggestions and requests for the Vatican “to create a simple , prompt complaint and communications mechanism so that clergy sex abuse victims who wish to report to church figures can do so safely without threat of harassment.” It would seem that for some of the clergy such an act would nearly be akin to “turning themselves in to the civilian authorities” for arrest and prosecution, and I think, that is part of the reason that the Vatican has not already done what you’re requesting. It remains to be seen if the college of Cardinals is sufficiently “shaken” by the first resignation of a sitting Pope in over 600 years, to finally accept the fact that the past actions of the church and clergy cannot remain unchanged, that the proverbial “cat is out of the bag” now. They must certainly, I would think, be beginning to understand that fact, much in the same way that other liars eventually have to “give up the ghost” of denial…sortof like the American athletes who so vehemently denied that they used performance enhancing drugs, eventually had to tell the truth, (e.g. Lance Armstrong).

    Before I came onto this site tonight (it’s currently 8:30pm standard time, in California), I had been composing an email that I believe will be good to copy here, now, as it deals with furthering the understanding of this huge problem: HBO Documentary Films

    Film made by Alex Gibney, called: Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

    Following is the internet link to the movie trailer for the Alex Gibney documentary film named above. I have not seen the film. I have watched this trailer and even though the trailer reveals that the film is extremely disturbing, I would like to have the opportunity to see the entire documentary.

    I do believe that the showing of this documentary released to the worldwide public on Feb. 4, 2013 on HBO cable television in the United States, is one of the main reasons that Pope Benedict XVI resigned within a few days of the limited showing.

    If the Catholic Church cannot choose a new Pope who will change the former policies and strategies of transfer, and “deny, minimize and blame” the victims and society regarding all pedophiles in the church, I will not be able to go back to the Catholic Church.

    I believe that people who think that they can remain loyal to and keep attending the Catholic Church by just ignoring these crimes or by continuing to make apologies for the church on this subject, should not only at least watch this trailer, but also read the Jeff Schweitzer article of April 30, 2012 that effectively eliminates any “excuses” the church could possibly have or give to try to absolve themselves from responsibility of essentially, enabling worldwide pedophilia, because the hierarchy in fact did not report any of the pedophile priests to public civil authorities, but instead they knowingly transferred predator prelates without warning anyone at the receiving parishes for years and years, and years.

    And here is the link to Jeff Schweitzer’s article:

    Again, thank you SNAP for providing this site. Thank you for allowing and encouraging a “voice for the victims” and carrying on the good fight for honesty and responsibility in the Catholic church. I’m praying that you can stay strong, and accomplish the absolutely necessary, 21st century cataclysmic change in the Catholic church. I do believe now is the time.

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