Papal aide linked to Vatican gay prostitution ring
“AT WHAT time does he have to be back in the seminary?” The question might seem innocent enough, were it not for the fact that the man asking it is a Papal Gentleman, Angelo Balducci, and the man of whom he is asking it is his pimp, Vatican chorister and Nigerian, Chinediu Thiomas Ehiem.
If Italian media sources are to be believed, then the compromising shadow of a highly active gay prostitution ring currently hangs over both the Holy See and unnamed Rome seminary colleges.
The first casualty of this potentially explosive scandal was Thiomas Ehiem, who yesterday was dismissed from the choir of the Cappella Giulia, the choir used in St Peter’s for ceremonies which do not involve the pope.
The Cappella Giulia comes under the auspices of Cardinal Angelo Comastri, arch-priest of St Peter’s.
Vatican sources pointed out that Mr Ehiem was neither a priest nor a seminary student, but a lay member of the choir.
The revelations came to light during investigations into Angelo Balducci, former head of the Italian office of public works, who was arrested last month on suspicion of corruption. This related to the awarding of a series of public contracts for major events such as last year’s G8 Summit in La Maddalena, Sardinia (later moved to L’Aquila), the 2009 World Swimming Championships, and next year’s 150th anniversary celebrations of the Unity of Italy.
Phone taps of the last two years reveal that Mr Balducci regularly contacted two men, Mr Ehiem and Lorenzo Renzi, to ask them to set up “appointments” for him, “appointments” for which he would pay up to €2,000.
Mr Balducci would ask for a description of his “escort”, and would be furnished with details of the man’s height, weight, skin colour, age and sexual availability.
Transcripts of Mr Balducci’s conversations suggest that his “escorts” came from many different backgrounds, with some being illegal immigrants who badly needed money.
Others were seminary students in Rome.
Mr Balducci, who has been a Papal Gentleman since 1995, has long worked closely with the Holy See on behalf of the Italian state, overseeing the logistical and infrastructural requirements of events such as the Holy Year in 2000, the canonisations of Padre Pio and Opus Dei founder José Maria Escriva in 2002, and the beatification of Mother Teresa in 2003.
In the context of the investigation into the office of public works, investigators believe that Mr Balducci systematically abused his position, exacting favours that ranged from a job for his son to the construction of a swimming pool by builders who had been awarded public contracts.
Investigators believe that private sector contracts for last year’s G8 Summit were inflated from an initial €290 million to €600 million.
Papal Gentlemen are those lay attendants of the pope who serve in the papal household, in the Apostolic Palace and in St Peter’s on ceremonial occasions.