Michele Mottola, former pastor of Trentola Ducenta (a center in the province of Caserta), was arrested yesterday morning, accused of harassment and sexual abuse against a twelve-year-old who attended his parish. It was the little girl who provided the investigators with evidence of the advances received by the priest, repeatedly recording the interviews that took place mainly in the rectory, and then providing the audio files to the men of the Aversa police station who conducted the investigations coordinated by the Public Prosecutor's Office. North Naples.
The don already suspended
The priest – 59 years old, a native of the province of Naples – had been suspended a few months ago by the bishop of Aversa, Monsignor Angelo Spinillo, immediately after the accusations made against him by the child had emerged. The diocese has also collaborated with the magistrates, but the real protagonist, as well as obviously a victim, of this story is she. A child who would have begun to suffer morbid attentions from the former parish priest when she was just over ten years old and would not have been able to confide in her mother and father immediately, or with other adults. Besides, this priest was a familiar figure to her. He knew his parents well, who were also frequent visitors to the parish of San Giorgio Martire in Trentola, who often invited him to lunch or dinner, and he gladly accepted, and it was not uncommon for him to present himself with a present for the child. Definitely in that family enjoyed the trust of everyone, as the entire community of the small town of Caserta trusted Don Mottola, and it is true that many in the village have struggled for a long time before believing that the child was not telling lies.
The courage of the twelve year old
Perhaps it was also for this reason that she, demonstrating maturity, courage and spirit of initiative, organized herself to gather evidence that this affectionate priest towards her was not driven by Christian love but by something else. And from the finished records in the precautionary custody order with which the investigating magistrate ordered the arrest of the former pastor, it is clear that the child has experienced terrible moments. In the files you can hear his voice screaming to don Michele to let her stay ("You don't have to touch me anymore") but you also hear the man's voice very well and you get his insistence. Masked by reassurances and kindness: "It's just a game, we don't do anything wrong," he tells her to convince her not to rebel. And then: "You know I love you. Do you want a basin? " "I would keep you here from morning till night, if your mother was more consenting," he insists on further recording. But there are also others in which the child's voice prevails. Like the one in which she feels afraid, repeat "Stop" twice. A disturbing scream, how disturbing it is to listen to Don Mottola when, addressing the child, he says: «Take this to dry off».
With that material gathered without the priest's knowledge, and also accompanied by other parishioners, the twelve-year-old's parents introduced themselves to the bishop. That he did nothing to try to keep things quiet. On the contrary, he intervened by removing the parish priest and he worked hard to ensure that the canonical process (currently still in progress) was started against him. At the same time the investigative work of the head of the Aversa police station, Vincenzo Gallozzi and his policemen, was in close contact with the Naples North prosecutor Francesco Greco and some substitutes. A very delicate investigation where there was also a confrontation (obviously protected) between the accuser and the accused. Don Mottola defended himself by claiming that the child was ranting. But it was not believed.
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