Editor of Catholic paper quits amid scandal

By Associated Press
September 4, 2009

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ROME - The editor of a prominent Catholic newspaper that demanded Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi answer questions about a sex scandal resigned yesterday after being caught up in scandal.

Dino Boffo, editor of the Avvenire daily of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, strongly denied the allegations raised by Il Giornale, a Berlusconi family newspaper that alleged he had been involved in a court case with homosexual overtones.

Boffo acknowledged being fined in a harassment case involving a woman. But he said someone else had used his phone to make the harassing calls and prosecutors denied there was any gay angle in the case.

Il Giornale, which is owned by Berlusconi’s brother, published the article weeks after Avvenire called on Berlusconi to answer questions about his purported infatuation with young women.

Berlusconi has been on the defensive since his wife announced in the spring that she was divorcing him, citing his presence at the 18th birthday party of a Naples model. Italian media subsequently reported that women had been paid to attend parties at Berlusconi’s residences and that a high-class prostitute had once spent the night with him.

Berlusconi, 72, has denounced what he says is a media smear campaign against him. He has denied ever paying anyone for sex and says there was nothing “spicy’’ in his relations with the Naples model.