Vatican Arrests Former Ambassador to Dominican Republic on Child Sex Abuse Charges
Jozef Wesolowski, the 66-year-old former Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, was charged with sexually abusing young boys as well as having child pornography on his computer.
The Holy See announced via statement that the former envoy and archbishop will have his first hearing on July 11. As reported in the Guardian, Wesolowski was recalled from the Dominican Republic in August 2013 after the archbishop of Santo Domingo informed Pope Francis about rumors that the cleric had sexually abused teenage boys. Prosecutors involved in the case alleged that Wesolowski had paid boys as young as 13-years-old to masturbate.
Last year, after Wesolowski was recalled to Rome, he became the first person to be arrested inside the Vatican on pedophilia charges. He had since then been placed under a kind of modified house arrest while awaiting a decision by the Vatican criminal court, which came on June 6.
Just last week the Vatican announced that it was creating a new tribunal to judge bishops who stand accused of covering up or mishandling accusations of sexual abuse that occurred in their dioceses. Rev. Federico Lombardi, the chief spokesman for the Vatican, said that Wesolowski’s trial would be held inside Vatican City, in the very room that the tribunal uses.
Addressing why getting to the case has taken as long as it has, Lombardi stated setting a trial date had been an ordeal because the investigation was “complex” and carried out in multiple countries. According to the New York Times, he said: “It takes time to verify and check.”
Prosecutors in Poland, Wesolowski's native country, voiced interest in bringing a case against him as well but that they lacked the cooperation of the Vatican or the proper information from Dominican officials.
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