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Vatican: Ex-nuncio may be extradited over child abuse claims

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 26.08.2014 09:32
The Vatican has revoked the diplomatic immunity of a former Polish archbishop who is accused of sexually abusing children while serving as papal nuncio in the Dominican Republic.

Pope Francis during the Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of his office in Saint Peter's square, Vatican City, 24 August 2014. EPA/CLAUDIO PERI

“We must finally state that since former nuncio Wesolowski has ended all diplomatic activity and its related immunity, he might also be subjected to judicial procedures from the courts that could have specific jurisdiction over him,” Vatican spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi outlined in a statement.

Reverend Lombardi stressed that Pope Francis has been “duly and carefully informed” about the case and that “the Pope wishes to address [the matter] justly and rigorously.”

The Dominican Republic's attorney general Francisco Dominguez Brito has commented that the Vatican's announcement represents a “just and positive” turning point.

“If this gentleman doesn't have immunity, that would facilitate things in order to consider the subject of extradition so he can come here and confront justice and there won't be impunity,” he noted.

Reverend Lombardi has revealed that Wesolowski has appealed against the Vatican's decision to defrock him, which was made in June.

Lombardi clarified that the appeal is likely to be dealt with in October.

Wesolowski's tenure as papal nuncio in the Caribbean country was suspended in August 2013 after allegations emerged that the archbishop had abused several boys in the Dominican Republic.

Wesolowski is the highest ranking Church official ever to be investigated for child abuse.

Polish help centres for child abuse victims

Meanwhile, the head of the Polish Episcopate has announced that help centres will be established for victims of paedophilia in Poland amid growing coverage of the problem within the Church.

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, head of the Polish Episcopate, in Czestochowa on Monday. Photo: PAP/Waldemar Deska

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki announced the plans at the ongoing Council for Diocesan Bishops that is being held at the Jasna Gora monastery in Czestochowa, southern Poland.

According to Gadecki, at least four such centres are set to be founded in the immediate future at as of yet undisclosed locations across Poland.

Gadecki specified that the centres will be open to anyone who considers themselves to be a victim of child abuse at the hands of clergymen, and that the institutions will provide information on various forms of help, including legal steps.

The centres will be affiliated with the Child Protection Centre, which is run by Father Adam Zak in Krakow.

In June, a conference was held in Krakow by the Church on the problem of paedophilia, and Father Zak presented research that revealed that 19 Polish clergymen were convicted of child abuse between 2010 and 2013.

Bishops discussed the findings of the June conference at the Jasna Gora monastery on Monday. (nh)

Source: PAP/AP

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