An Italian priest has been arrested for allegedly using popular dating app Grindr to solicit sex from teenage boys.
A two-month investigation was launched when police discovered Fr Antonello Tropea, 44, in a car with teenager in a secluded area, reports Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
Tropea told police at the time that he was a P.E teacher. “Suspicious items” – unspecified by police – were allegedly found in his backpack, prompting further investigation.
The teenager later told police that Tropea paid him €20 for oral sex.
The investigation, in which Tropea’s phone was tapped and computer seized, revealed that Tropea’s superior, Bishop Francesco Milito, knew about the priest’s behaviour.
When an anonymous letter was sent to the bishop (believed to have been penned by a disgruntled nun) outlining Tropea’s offenses, an outraged Milito is recorded warning Tropea to “avoid speaking to police” and to “continue as before”.
Tropea used the user name ‘Nicola’ on Grindr – the name of the patron saint of his parish San Nicola di Mira in Messignadi, southern Italy.
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