Vatican to Hold First Paedophilia Trial, Accepts US Bishops" Resignation over Child Sex Abuse

ABC News
June 15, 2015

PHOTO: Jozef Wesolowski (pictured in August 2011) will face paedophilia charges in a Vatican court. (AFP: Erika Santelices)

A former papal ambassador to the Dominican Republic will be tried for paedophilia next month in the first case of its kind to be brought before a Vatican court.

The Vatican announced on Monday that the first hearing in the trial of Jozef Wesolowski had been scheduled for July 11 this year.

The Polish cleric is accused of possession of child pornography in Rome in 2013-14 and the sexual abuse of minors during his 2008-13 spell as the church's representative in the Dominican Republic.

The Vatican said allegations of crimes committed in the Dominican Republic were based on an investigation by police there.

The others were based on a Vatican investigation that found child pornography on his computer after he was arrested last September.

"These serious allegations will be scrutinised by the competent judicial body which will be assisted by both technical appraisals of the IT systems used by the defendant and, if necessary, international legal cooperation for the evaluation of testimonial evidence from the competent authorities in Santo Domingo," The Vatican said in a statement.

"This will be a delicate and detailed procedure, requiring the most careful observations and insights from all parties involved in the trial."

Dominican prosecutors said they identified at least four boys as victims of the papal envoy.

Wesolowski was recalled to Rome by the Vatican in 2013 when he was still a diplomat in Santo Domingo and he was relieved of his duties after Dominican media accused him of paying boys to perform sexual acts.

The former archbishop, who later lost his diplomatic immunity, could face up to 12 years in jail, the Vatican said at the time of his arrest.

Vatican accepts resignation of US bishops

The Vatican accepted the resignation of two United States bishops accused of failing to protect minors from a paedophile priest.

The two US bishops' resignations follow the 2012 jailing of Minnesota priest Curtis Wehmeyer for the sexual abuse of minors he preyed on during camping trips and possession of child pornography.

Wehmeyer's conviction led to the archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis being charged on June 5 with six counts of failing to protect minors after prosecutors unveiled substantial evidence that senior church officials failed to act on repeated warnings from parents and others that the priest was a danger to children.

No individuals have been charged but the two clerics who have stepped down, archbishop John Clayton Nienstedt and auxiliary bishop Lee Anthony Piche, were both named in the complaint as having failed to heed the warnings.








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