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Vatican reveals investigation of former nuncio; denies refusing extradition

Catholic World News - January 13, 2014

A Vatican spokesman has denied a report that the Holy See refused to extradite a Vatican diplomat who has been accused of sexual abuse, and revealed that the Vatican is conducting its own criminal investigation in the case.

Last week reports from Poland indicated that the Vatican had refused a request to extradite Archbishop Jozef 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 Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told reporters that the Holy See had not received an extradition request. Polish officials had merely inquired about the archbishop's legal status, the Vatican spokesman said; 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 offenses under the Vatican's penal code.

Father Lombardi said that the Vatican would honor its promises to cooperate with officials in the Dominican Republic and in Poland who are investigating the archbishop's conduct. Whether the Polish archbishop could 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.

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  • Posted by: feedback - Jan. 14, 2014 10:46 AM ET USA

    If the terrible allegations are proven, then a thorough investigation should follow on WHO EXACTLY stood behind recommending this kind of individual to the positions he held in the hierarchy. These things don't happen by pure accident.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jan. 13, 2014 7:37 PM ET USA

    The criminal investigation here baffles me. Even though Francis extended the jurisdiction of the Vatican criminal courts to its diplomats, how could they try a man for homosexual assaults committed in other jurisdictions (i.e. the Dominican Republic and Poland)? Is the suggestion here that Wesolowski also committed such crimes in the Vatican and therefore can be put on trial there?

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