Salta priest arrested in Rome for abuse
Alessandro De Rossi was working in an Italian church
A priest accused of sexual abuse against minors in Salta province was arrested in Rome, Italy, following an warrant issued by Argentine judges.
Alessandro De Rossi, 46, faced charges for having perpetrated sexual offences against a 14-year-old teenager during three years while he was working at the church “María Medianera de todas las gracias,” located in the neighbourhood Islas Malvinas of the capital city of Salta, according to the website Roma Capitale.
At the time of his arrest, De Rossi was a pastor in a church in Rome’s Parioli district.
The detention took place on December 31 but was reported yesterday.
Salta Judge Diego Rodríguez Pipino issued an arrest warrant to the Interpol international police agency against De Rossi, who is said to have committed a series of sexual offences to an unknown number of victims.
The priest, born in Rome, was sent to Salta by Church authorities. He spent five years in that province.
Between December 23 and Christmas Eve, police officers carried out several raids to seize computers, photographs and some other information that could be used as evidence of the alleged ties between De Rossi and the sexual abuse cases that had been reported by minors.
Days ago, prosecutor Pablo Paz explained to local media that there was enough evidence to charge the priest.
Paz explained that he did not only have the depositions from the victims but also e-mails that De Rossi sent to the young man who filed the complaint. According to the prosecutor, De Rossi has to face charges for aggravated sexual abuse.
The complaint was filed by a man who started going to the church when he was nine years old and at 14 he met the priest at a party organized by De Rossi. According to the victim, the priest not only assaulted him but also other children.
Salta was shaken by the arrest warrant order issued by Rodríguez Pipino last week. According to daily La Gaceta de Salta, residents of the Islas Malvinas neighbourhood said the priest used to organize many activities to get children to go to church.
“When he was here, more people attended Mass,” a woman told that newspaper, saying that the complaint was part of a defamatory campaign.
Rodríguez Pipino did not just request that Interpol arrest De Rossi but he also requested the assistance of the Foreign Ministry, the Border Guard, the Federal Police and the Airport Security Police.
The Foreign Ministry is expected to play an important role to seek the extradition of the priest.
In November 2013, Italian judges rejected the extradition of Franco Reverberi Boschi, a priest born in Parma, Italy, who was accused of having ties to the 1976-1983 dictatorship in Mendoza province. Reverberi Boschi was said to have witnessed torture in a clandestine detention centre that operated in Mendoza.
Although Italian judges refused to extradite Reverberi, the priest cannot leave the country because the arrest warrant is still valid. The same could happen to De Rossi.
In July, Italian authorities denied the extradition of Carlos Malatto, a man accused of having committed crimes against humanity in San Juan province during the military regime. Malatto was charged with the kidnapping and torture of more than 60 people. Although he was originally jailed for those crimes, he was freed in 2011. He fled first to Chile and later to Italy, trying to take advantage of his dual nationality.
San Juan Federal Judge Leopoldo Gallo requested Malatto’s extradition, but Italy’s Supreme Court rejected the request last year. Co-rriere Della Sera revealed months ago that Malatto had taken refuge in a chapel in Genoa.
Herald staff with Télam, online media