An Italian priest was arrested Friday (18 December) for allegedly hooking up with teenage boys he met on Grindr, according local media reports.
Antonello Tropea, 44, had sex with the youths in his car and his rectory in Calabria.
Suspicions were raised when police happened upon the priest in a car with a teenager in a secluded area. Tropea claimed he was a physical education teacher and had ‘suspicious objects’ in his backpack.
The boy later told police Tropea had paid him €20 (£15, $21) for oral sex.
A two-month investigation involving wiretaps revealed that Bishop Francesco Milito knew of Tropea’s activities but chose to ignore it, instead telling him to ‘continue as before’ and ‘avoid speaking to the police.’
According to La Repubblica newspaper, Tropea went by Nicola on Grindr – the name of the patron saint of his parish in Messignadi in southern Italy.
Tropea faces a series of charges, including soliciting a minor for sex.