The Malta Independent 21 January 2021, Thursday

Vatican defrocks former Franciscan priest imprisoned for sexual abuse

Tuesday, 12 January 2021, 19:14 Last update: about 8 days ago

Pope Francis has accepted a request by the Franciscan Order to have Fr Donald Bellizzi defrocked.

Bellizzi is currently serving a three-year prison sentence after having been found guilty of sexually abusing a young man. The case took place between 2010 and 2013 at one of the Orders convents in Burmarrad. The victim was 14.

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Bellizzi, who was the parish priest of Burmarrad, used to organise live-ins for youths at the home.

The Curia had reported the case to the police and Bellizzi was taken to court in 2015 and found guilty of abusing minors. He had lost a subsequent appeal.

The Curias Safeguarding Commission said the defrocking request was accepted by Pope Francis on 3 December and the decree was signed by Bellizzi on 22 December.

 

 

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