A former archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, has passed away while awaiting trial for paying for sex with minors, Vatican officials say. He was the highest-ranking Catholic official to face accusations of pedophilia.
The 67-year old Wesolowski was found dead in on Friday, a Vatican representative said in a statement. The Polish-born defrocked priest was held under house arrest in the seat of the Catholic Church.
The initial checks “indicated that the death was from natural causes,” a press statement said, adding that Vatican prosecutors ordered an immediate autopsy.
Vatican officials informed Pope Francis of the event, the authorities reported.
Wesolowski was stripped of his rank in the church hierarchy and reduced to a layman last year, after a church tribunal found him guilty of child abuse. This is the harshest penalty the Vatican tribunal can rule against a cleric under canon law.
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