A huge scandal has rocked the Catholic Church anew with a gay priest from an Italian archdiocese being accused of committing fraud, drug distribution, embezzlement, extortion and self-laundering. So bad were the allegations that they also include the claim that the accused priest even shamelessly asked the faithful for money during confessions. The priest will stand trial on March 8 for the charges against him.
The gay priest identified as Father Luca Morini, more infamously known to his flock as “Don Euro” for his extravagant lifestyle, will be scheduled for a hearing in the Court of Massa, the medieval town in Tuscany where he previously run two parishes.
The case against Morini started with the expose of male escort Francesco Mangiacapra when he decided to go public about the “services“ he has been rendering to the gay priest. Mangiacapra said the priest also falsely presented himself to him as a judge. When the male escort discovered that his “client” was not really a high-profile judge that he projected himself to be but simply a parish priest without high income, the guy decided to investigate the priest’s source of funds. Mangiacapra sought to find out how the gay priest managed to lavish him with expensive dinners and extravagant gifts.
The male escort suspected that the money Morini was spending on him exorbitantly came from the unsuspecting faithful. He then decided to report the matter- and his suspicions- to the diocese of Massa Carrara-Pontremoli.
The diocese was slow in its response to the grave allegations against one of its priests, however. They only acted when they learned that the national broadcast show Le lene was already investigating the shenanigans of the gay priest. Only then did the bishop suspended Morini from his parish activities but attributed his absence to “sickness.”
Morini was transferred to a house, but the scandal only escalated as his extravagance apparently did not stop. Morini was moved to a house bought just for him for almost $250,000. The monthly utility bills, as well as payment for a maid, were also taken care of for Morini. Such concessions were received from Bishop Giovanni Santucci from the same diocese as a result of Morini’s blackmail that he would “expose to the public eye unpleasant facts about the other diocesan priests” if the concerned bishops do not give in to his demands.
Bishop Santucci was also forced to give the gay priest additional money from both his personal account as well as funds from the diocese. The bishop is also under current investigation.
The show Le lene has shown footage of Morini shockingly snorting cocaine and scandalously parading with several male escorts. The show also interviewed parishioners who testified that Morini was always pestering them, asking for money. In some instances, the gay priest even committed blasphemy and falsely claimed to some of the faithful that he has seen Padre Pio in the Host and that Padre Pio mentioned particular parishioners. Morini would, in turn, ask for money from those faithful in exchange for the “guarantee” of Padre Pio’s protection.
Another diocesan priest wrote an anonymous letter saying Morini has been doing all those deceptive and criminal acts for almost 20 years, victimizing the elderly and the most vulnerable among the faithful.
The probe on Morini was concluded in June last year. The police were able to trace nearly $900,000 in cash to the gay priest and over $180,000 in diamond investments.
Morini was also known to frequent the best restaurants, resorts and five-star hotels in Rome and in Tuscany, where he would also always bring drugs. Mangiacapra himself testified that the cocaine they used always came from the gay priest, insisting that he was only a male escort and not a drug dealer.
Mangiacapra’s expose does not end with Morini. Last week, he also handed a 1,200-page dossier to the archdiocese of Naples with documents proving his involvement with 60 other priests all over Italy. The dossier comes complete with sexually explicit photos.
Mangiacapra feels it’s time the impunity of priests involved in such despicable crimes and the way they live double lives to stop for the sake of the faithful.
The gay escort and whistle-blower of scandals in the church involving priests has also received an anonymous death threat in January, which also warned him that more of the same are forthcoming.