Catholic priest probed for sexual ajbuse

ROME - The Vatican has ordered an investigation into a sex-abuse scandal implicating a priest in Florence who is already the subject of a criminal investigation, press reports said yesterday.

ROME - The Vatican has ordered an investigation into a sex-abuse scandal implicating a priest in Florence who is already the subject of a criminal investigation, press reports said yesterday.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has sent a prelate to the Renaissance city amid suspicions that the full extent of the scandal surrounding Reverend Lelio Cantini has not been revealed, the daily La Repubblica reported. The envoy will interview Cantini's victims. He has admitted to coercing girls and women in his parish to have sex with him between 1973 and 1987.

Florentine Cardinal Ennio Antonelli admitted in an open letter in April that the Roman Catholic Church had settled the matter in secret after accusations of former parishioners reached the Vatican.

Cantini, now in his 80s, was barred from serving and ordered to contribute his income to charity for five years. For the first year, he was ordered to recite a psalm each day begging for pardon over the sins he committed. - Sapa-AFP

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