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Italian ‘paedophile’ priest posed as US manager

An Italian priest who allegedly posed as an American manager online has been arrested as part of an investigation into a global paedophile ring.

Italian 'paedophile' priest posed as US manager
The Italian priest allegedly posed as an American manager in his communications with others in the suspected paedophile ring.

The 49-year-old priest was arrested in Alassio in Liguria where he had recently moved from the town of Oulx in Turin, Corriere della Sera reported. 

He was arrested along with three others, including two unemployed men aged 58 and 51 and a worker aged 51 in Torrecuso, Livorno and Rome.

The priest, who has not been named, allegedly purchased pornographic photos and videos of pre-adolescents through the paedophile network on the internet.

In some cases the material included children aged just a few years old, mostly from Asia.

The suspects allegedly met over the Russian social network Imgsrc.ru, where they published various photos before moving their communications to other web platforms.

In his communications with the other suspects, the priest allegedly posed as an American manager who was in Italy for work.

On Tuesday Italian police seized several computers, smartphones and devices considered “extremely interesting” to the investigation.

Police are also working to identify those responsible for the videos and the child victims.

The two-year-long investigation, which was conducted by Milan State Police, includes 29 Italians and 233 suspected paedophiles around the world.

Italian police have also shared information relating to suspects to 35 foreign countries through Interpol, the global law enforcement agency.

ROME

‘Bank robber’ rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

Four people were arrested in Rome after a suspected would-be bank robber was rescued from a tunnel under a road, police said on Friday.

'Bank robber' rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

An Italian man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican, suspected of being part of a gang burrowing its way to a nearby bank.

Firefighters spent eight hours digging him out from under a road in the west of Rome, before he was finally freed on Thursday evening and taken to hospital.

“Two people from Naples were arrested for resisting a public official and two, from Rome, for damage” to public property, a police spokesman told AFP.

The rescued man, one of the two Romans, remains in hospital, he said without giving an update on his condition.

“We are still investigating, we do not exclude that they are thieves, it is one of the theories,” he said.

For Italian newspapers, however, the motive was clear, with reports noting the tunnel was found near a bank ahead of the August 15th long weekend, when residents traditionally head out of town and much of Rome is left empty.

“The hole gang,” headlined newspapers Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, while La Stampa said: “They dig a tunnel to rob a bank, and one of them is buried underground.”

Other reports referred to the suspected burglar as l’uomo-talpa, or ‘mole man’.

An AFP reporter at the scene on Thursday saw the man brought out alive on a stretcher, after a day-long operation involving dozens of emergency service workers using mechanical diggers.

The tunnel began underneath an empty shop that had recently been rented.

“We all thought that the people there were renovating the place. So we had no suspicions and we did not hear noises either,” a resident, Michele, who lives in the same building told AFP.

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