Child Targeted by Priest Now in Safety

The unnamed 10-year-old girl of the July 23 story about Don Paolo Glaentzer – the Calenzano parish priest who was caught by passersby with the child in a parked car at night in a secluded spot – has recently been removed from her parents’ household and transferred to an (anonymous) safe space. Juvenile prosecutor Antonio Sangermano ordered the girl’s relocation in collaboration with the Calenzano municipal police and social services on the grounds of parental neglect.

The priest is currently under house arrest and will be tried for attempted sexual assault of a minor.

As for the girl, the prosecutor based his decision on Article 403 of the Italian civil code –  federal legislation that provides for cases such as these – that states, “When a minor is morally or materially abandoned or is raised in unhealthy or dangerous premises, or by persons for negligence, immorality, ignorance, or for other reasons incapable of providing for [the child’s] education, the public authority… places [the child] in a safe place until [they] can provide for [their own] protection.”

While Sangermano acknowledges that the mere presence of a priest or family friend alone with a child does not necessarily constitute neglect, the fact remains that the girl was outside the house after 10 pm, in a car that did not belong to her parents or relatives, and without supervision. Even without the family’s history of neglectful behavior, Sangermano characterizes the situation as one of “total discomfort.”

The family in question has had previous brushes with social services and concerned childcare professionals as recently as 2013, at which time children’s court decided to relocate the girl and her two brothers (now ages 14 and 7) to a family service institution. The three siblings were then returned to their original home three years later upon a reversal of the verdict in the court of appeals.

To read more in Italian, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.

(claire francis)