Page last updated at 23:47 GMT, Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Ex-archbishop sentenced in Argentina over sex abuse

Edgardo Storni (file pic: 2002)
Edgardo Storni resigned as archbishop in 2002

A former Roman Catholic archbishop in Argentina been sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually abusing a young seminarian while still in office.

Edgardo Storni, 73, was in charge of the archdiocese of Santa Fe when he abused the male student in 1992.

He will serve his sentence under house arrest because of his age. His lawyers say he will appeal.

Storni's victim said he was relieved by the conviction and it would allow him to move on with his life.

Judge Maria Mascheroni said Storni had taken advantage of his position of authority over his student

Internal investigation

He is the fourth priest in Argentina to be convicted of sex crimes.

An internal church investigation into alleged sexual misconduct carried out by the former cleric, commenced in 1994 but Agence France-Presse reported that church officials did not comment on this conviction.

The BBC's correspondent Candace Piette in Buenos Aires says the case against Storni gained momentum when an Argentine journalist wrote a book in 2000 describing the abuse of seminarians during spiritual retreats in his diocese.

Although many of these allegations were dismissed by several judges, the case involving this particular seminarian went ahead.

Storni, who currently lives on a farm owned by the archdiocese in Cordoba, resigned from his role as archbishop in 2002.

Storni's lawyer Eduardo Jauchen said this case had been based on "rumours, suspicions and one-sided accounts".

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