The Vatican confirmed on Friday that an Argentinian Bishop who has held a senior position at the Holy See since 2017, is under preliminary investigation over sex abuse claims, in the latest case to shake the Catholic church.
Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, 54, will “abstain from working” during the preliminary inquiry, which will ascertain whether there is sufficient evidence to take the case further, The Vatican said.
The announcement comes after reports in Italian media that Zanchetta, who is considered close to fellow Argentinian Pope Francis, was the subject of complaints filed in late 2018 by several seminarians.
He was given a role at the Vatican’s real estate administrative office in 2017 after he quit his diocese in Oran, north Argentina.
At the time of his resignation Zanchetta cited “tense” working relations with colleagues, the Vatican said in a statement.
“At the time of his resignation, there were accusations against him of authoritarianism but there were no accusations of sexual abuse,” it said.
It added that no sex abuse allegations had emerged at the time of Zanchetta’s nomination to become an “assessor” for the Vatican.