Priest must pay €700,000 over alleged child abuse

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The case against the priest was dismissed by Italy's highest court in 2009. Photo: neonove/Flickr
16:17 CEST+02:00
An Italian court has ordered a priest and his parish to pay €700,000 compensation after he allegedly spent years sexually abusing a girl. The ruling has been hailed as a first of its kind in Italy by the family’s lawyer.

Despite being let off the criminal charges in 2009, a civil court in the northern city of Bolzano has ordered Giorgio Carli to pay out for the alleged abuse.

The civil court was able to make the ruling as it operates separately to the criminal court system.

The Bolzano court relied heavily on the victim’s testimony of abuse, which occured from the age of nine to 14, Il Messaggero said.

Carli has always professed his innocence, but he and the diocese have now been ordered to pay €500,000 to his victim and €100,000 to each of her parents.

“The sentence is probably the first of its kind Italy and allows, at least in part, a form of moral compensation,” lawyer Gianni Lanzinger told Il Messaggero.

But the diocese expressed its dismay at the ruling, saying it was “surprised and disappointed”.

“It is incomprehensible that civil compensation has been awarded when nobody has been charged or convicted [of a crime].”

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Carli was first arrested in 2003 and acquitted, but on appeal was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

However, the case was dropped by Italy’s highest court in 2009 as it had reached the statute of limitations. As the crimes were committed in the early 1990s, it was deemed too late to prosecute Carli.

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