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Vatican Indicts Diplomat On Sexual Abuse Charges

In 2013, Vatican City updated its laws to specifically criminalize sexual abuse of minors and possession of child pornography.
Vatican Indicts Diplomat On Sexual Abuse Charges

Looks like the people's Pope is following through on his promise to clean house at the Vatican:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican's former ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been indicted on charges he sexually abused young boys in the Caribbean country and had child pornography on his computer, and will stand trial next month in a Vatican court.

The Holy See said Monday that Jozef Wesolowski will have his first hearing July 11, the first time such a high-ranking Vatican official will stand trial for sex abuse.

The Holy See recalled Wesolowski in 2013 after rumors surfaced in Santo Domingo that he allegedly paid shoeshine boys to masturbate. Wesolowski has since been defrocked and placed under modified house arrest inside Vatican City pending a decision by the Vatican criminal court on whether to indict him.

That decision came June 6, when the Vatican prosecutor asked the head of the Vatican City State tribunal to indict him — a decision that was announced Monday.

The case has been highly sensitive, given that the Polish-born Wesolowski was an ambassador of the Holy See — a direct representative of the pope and not just one of the world's 440,000 priests — and had been ordained both a priest and a bishop by St. John Paul II.

Last year, a Holy See tribunal found him guilty under canon law of abusing young boys and defrocked him, the harshest sentence under church law that can be meted out. Now, the case goes to the Vatican's criminal courts, which have jurisdiction over Wesolowski because he is a papal diplomat and citizen of the Vatican City State.

In 2013, Vatican City updated its laws to specifically criminalize sexual abuse of minors and possession of child pornography.

The Vatican said Wesolowski would be prosecuted under that new law for the porn charge, since he is accused of having porn while he was in Rome from August 2013, when he was recalled, until his arrest Sept. 22. The charge carries a maximum jail term of two years, plus a fine.


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The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican's old law would be used for the actual abuse charges since the crime allegedly took place before the new law was passed. Lombardi said Wesolowski is accused of corrupting young people sexually, of receiving child porn, causing psychological damage and engaging in conduct that "offends the principles of religion or morals."

In related news:

The archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis and a deputy bishop have resigned after the archdiocese was charged with having failed to protect children from a pedophile priest.

The Vatican said Monday that Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche.

Nienstedt is the second U.S. bishop in the Catholic Church to resign as the result of a clergy sex abuse scandal, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

The two resigned under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign before they retire because of illness or some other "grave" reason that makes them unfit for office.

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