Vatican to try Former Ambassador on Child Porn, Sex Abuse Charges

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The Pope’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Jun 15 20 15 – The Pope’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski – accused of offenses related to child abuse – will be tried at the Vatican beginning next month, the Vatican said Monday.

Wesolowski, 66, is the highest-ranking former Vatican official to be arrested for allegations related to the sexual abuse of minors and the first to be tried on such charges at the Vatican.

Wesolowski is accused of possession of child pornography as well as offenses related to the sexual abuse of minors during his time as papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic.

Before arriving in the Dominican Republic in 2008, Wesolowski was nuncio to Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. He began his career as a priest in Krakow, Poland in 1972 and became a bishop in 2000.

In August 2013, the Vatican said it was investigating Wesolowski and removing him from his post, but it did not give a reason. Monsignor Agripino Nunez Collado, a Catholic University rector, said an internal church report linked Wesolowski to child abuse and pedophilia.

“We have formally opened an investigation,” Dominican Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito told reporters at the time. “Here we have to work with two legal aspects, first national laws and also international laws in his status as a diplomat, which implies other mechanisms of investigation and judgment.”

In January 2014, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi confirmed that the Vatican’s criminal court was investigating Wesolowski. Pope Francis had announced in July 2013 that he was extending the court’s jurisdiction in sex abuse cases to include papal diplomats, making Wesolowski’s case the first test of the ruling.

The Holy See defrocked Wesolowski in June of 2014.

Wesolowski is not only charged with offenses during his five years as nuncio of Dominican Republic, but also with child pornography charges committed in Rome between August 2013, when he was recalled, and September 2014, when he was arrested, a Vatican statement said. He also faces charges in the Dominican Republic and in his native Poland.

Regarding the pornography allegations, and Italian newspaper reported in September that Wesolowski’s laptop contained more than 100,000 files with pornographic images and videos, some showing naked teens, between the ages of 13 and 17, forced to have sexual relations with each other or with adults. Some had been downloaded from the Internet and others appeared to have been taken by the victims, the paper reported.

Wesolowski’s trial will involve information technology experts and international legal experts to evaluate evidence gathered in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. The first hearing is scheduled for July 11.

It’s been reported that rather than being held in an Italian prison or Vatican detention cell, Wesolowski is under house arrest at a Vatican apartment for medical reasons.

Source Caribbean News Services