Prosecutors on Friday detained a former Romanian Orthodox bishop on suspicion of raping and sexually abusing a former student at an theological seminary in the northeastern city of Husi.
Corneliu Barladeanu was the bishop of Husi from 2009-2017 when he was forced to step down after he appeared in a tape engaging in sexual relations with an underage male student at the Husi theological seminary where he was teaching.
The church accepted his resignation during a two-day Holy Synod in 2017 where a sex scandal was discussed for the first time in its 92-year history.
Reacting to the latest developments, the Romanian Orthodox Church said it was waiting for the trial before taking a decision on his fate. If he is convicted, he will likely be defrocked.
At that time, Barladeanu claimed it was a case of blackmail and lodged a complaint with the Anticorruption Directorate against a fellow priest, who was the chief abbot of the Husi cathedral, Cristi Sebastian Jitaru.
Jitaru reportedly blackmailed the bishop with the sex tape to get a promotion. Prosecutors sent Jitaru to trial on blackmail charges and he is currently serving a prison sentence.
The prosecutors also charged Jitaru on Friday of multiple counts of rape and sexual abuse of underage students.
A court will decide later whether Barladeanu will be detained for 30 days.
After the allegations appeared, Barladeanu stepped down and withdrew to the Varatec Monastery as a monk.
Prosecutors in the city of Iasi began an investigation but they didn’t have access to the video recording that incriminated the former bishop because it was in the possession of anti-corruption prosecutors.
Prosecutors reopened the case in 2019, after a series of articles published by Sa Fie Lumina, a publication that investigates cases of wrongdoing in different churches.