by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Staff Writer
Late last week, the Vatican was rocked by a sex scandal involving one of the pope's ceremonial ushers and a member of the elite Vatican choir. Both were put in the spotlight for their involvement in a homosexual prostitution ring.
Angelo Balducci, a 'Gentleman of His Holiness,' was caught by police on a wiretap allegedly negotiating with Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, a 29-year-old Vatican chorister, over the specific physical details of men he wanted brought to him.
Balducci is also a senior advisor to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the department that oversees the Roman Catholic Church's worldwide missionary activities.
Transcripts in the possession of the U.K. newspaper The Guardian suggest that numerous men may have been procured for Balducci, at least one of whom was studying for the priesthood.
The allegations came to light after Italian newspapers published transcripts of phone calls recorded by authorities, who had been conducting an unrelated corruption investigation.
According to the transcripts, in one conversation, Ehiem tells Balducci, "I saw your call when I was in the Vatican, because I was doing rehearsals & in the choir & in St. Peter's." He then suggests Balducci meet a man who he describes as "two meters tall & 97 kilos & aged 33, completely active."
The Italian Carabinieri wrote in their report, "In order to organize casual encounters of a sexual nature, he availed himself of the intercession of two individuals who, it is maintained, may form part of an organized network, especially active in Rome, of exploiters or at least facilitators of male prostitution."
According to Italian press reports, Ehiem lost his job after Balducci's arrest and the allegations surfaced.
Ehiem told the Italian news magazine Panorama, "He asked me if I could procure other men for him. He told me he was married and that I had to do it in great secrecy."
The transcripts show that for five months in 2008, Ehiem procured at least 10 contacts for Balducci, including "two black Cuban lads, a former male model from Naples, and a rugby player from Rome." Balducci was allegedly paying 2,000 euros ($2,714) for each man he met.
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