Former Vatican envoy awaiting trial on child sex abuse charges found dead

Dallas Morning News

The Associated Press

Published: 28 August 2015

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, the highest-ranking Holy See official to ever be charged with sexually abusing young boys, was found dead Friday as he awaited trial, the Vatican said.

In a statement, the Vatican press office said preliminary checks on Jozef Wesolowski, 67, “indicated that the death was from natural causes.”

A Franciscan priest who works as a confessor in St. Peter’s Basilica found Wesolowski dead at 5 a.m. with the television on in the Vatican room where has been held in modified house arrest for several months, it said. …

Dominican authorities had initially questioned the Vatican’s sequestration of Wesolowski after the abuse rumors began circulating. But the Holy See insisted that it had jurisdiction over him given he was a diplomat and was subject to the criminal laws of the Vatican City State. Wesolowski lost his diplomatic immunity when he was removed and defrocked, however, and the Vatican subsequently said he could face charges elsewhere after the Vatican’s case against him was finished.

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