A school for papal choirboys, which is the subject of allegations of sexual abuse, will be relocated outside the Vatican walls, the Holy See press office announced today.
The former rector and alumnus of St Pius X pre-seminary, which welcomes boys interested in the priesthood, are currently on trial in a Vatican court.
The former student, who has become a priest, is accused of assaulting a young altar boy and the former rector of having concealed the affair.
The Holy See statement says Pope Francis recently told the current rector of the pre-seminary that he is expected to move to another “convenient location” in September.
Currently, the school occupies a building near the back of St. Peter’s Basilica, near the Santa Marta guesthouse, where the Pope lives.
The Holy See’s statement made no mention of the allegations of sexual abuse and noted that Francis thanked the rector for the work done by the institution over its 75-year history.
He said the move had been considered “for some time”, in part to allow students “to be closer to the places where they study and practice their leisure activities”.
The boys do not study inside the Vatican and attend their classes in the center of Rome.
The ongoing trial involving the pre-seminary marks the first time the Vatican has criminally prosecuted acts of sexual abuse or cover-up allegedly taking place in its territory.
As part of the trial, the court heard that the alleged victim had claimed in a letter that he had been assaulted on several occasions, including in a toilet cubicle inside St. Peter’s Basilica.