Hold on to your rosaries, this is going to get ugly. Don Patrizio Poggi, a parish priest in Rome who served five years for sexually abusing teenage boys, has filed a complaint with Italian police alleging the existence of a Vatican "rent boy" ring.
The former Carabinieri police officer pulled up outside a bar known as Twink — slang for a gay youth — next to Rome’s central station. He was driving a Fiat Panda marked “Emergency Blood” so he could easily park. There, he picked up Romanian immigrant “rent-boys”, some underage, for gay encounters with Catholic priests around Rome.
While Poggi's accusation sound like a deeply twisted Stefon sketch, the Times says his allegations "gained some credibility from the fact that he was accompanied by Monsignor Luca Lorusso, an adviser to the Papal Nuncio to Italy, who is himself a confidante of Pope Francis."
Cardinal Agostino Vallini, head of the Catholic Vicariate of Rome, dismissed Poggi's accusations as slander, "motivated perhaps by a spirit of revenge or personal resentment." However, Poggi maintains that he came forward to report an abuse of power:
“The hiring of the boys by the three took place essentially by using their desperation and the lack of means of support that characterised their social condition,” he charged.
The Times of London's account does not include other claims by Poggi published elsewhere regarding "selling consecrated hosts for satanic rites." Guess the idea of a Vatican-wide "rent boy" ring seemed more plausible.
[Image via Getty]