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Vatican denies protecting bishop accused of abuse


VATICAN (CWNews.com): Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesperson, denied a report on January 13 that the Holy See is refusing to extradite a Vatican diplomat in the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who has been accused of sexual abuse, saying that the Vatican is conducting its own criminal investigation in the case.

Reports from Poland indicated that the Vatican had refused a request to extradite Archbishop Wesolowski, who has been accused of molesting young men both in his native Poland and in the Dominican Republic, where he served as apostolic nuncio until he was recalled to Rome last year.

But Father Lombardi told reporters that the Holy See had not received an extradition request and that Polish officials had merely inquired about the archbishop’s legal status. He explained that they had been informed that Archbishop Wesolowski is a citizen of Vatican City.

At the same time, he said that Archbishop Wesolowski is the subject of a canonical investigation, undertaken by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As a Vatican citizen he could also be charged with criminal offences under the Vatican penal code.

Father Lombardi said that the Vatican would honour its promise to cooperate with officials in the Dominican Republic and in Poland who are investigating the archbishop’s conduct.

 

Whether the Polish archbishop would face criminal charges in the Dominican Republic—where the allegations against him were first raised—or in Poland—remains open to question, since the Vatican does not have formal extradition treaties with either country.

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