An Italian appeals court has overturned the convictions of Cardinal Roberto Tucci, the former president of the Radio Vaticana management committee, and Father Pasquale Borgomeo, the former director general of the station.
In 2005, Tucci and Borgomeo were given 10-day suspended sentences for electromagnetic pollution offenses related to transmissions from the Santa Maria di Galeria transmitter site near the town of Cesano just north of Rome. A third station official, Assistant Technical Manager Costantino Pacifici, was acquitted.
The trial followed an official inquiry launched in 2001 to examine claims by local residents that cases of leukemia in the area were related to electromagnetic emissions. No conclusive link between the transmission site and cases of leukemia in the Cesano area were found in the inquiry, although officials did find magnetic fields higher than the permitted 6 V/m² in 11 of 14 sites checked.
Radio Vaticana has always maintained its electromagnetic emissions were within internationally agreed upon limits.
The decision is expected to be appealed by local residents and environmental groups. A separate civil suit charging that the transmission site has damaged the health of local residents is wending its way through the courts.