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Vatican declines extradition for papal nuncio accused of abuse

January 10, 2014

The Vatican has refused a request from Polish prosecutors for the extradition of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, a Vatican diplomat who is under investigation for sexual abuse of children in the Dominican Republic and in his native Poland.

“Archbishop Wesolowski is a citizen of the Vatican, and Vatican law does not allow for his extradition,” the Vatican announced.

The archbishop had been serving as apostolic nuncio in the Dominican Republic until August 2013, when he was recalled to Rome after Cardinal Nicolas Lopez Rodriguez informed Pope Francis that he had heard reports of sexual abuse by the Vatican envoy. Shortly after his departure, authorities in the Dominican Republic disclosed that several families had filed complaints against him. At the time, the Vatican pledged full cooperation with Dominican prosecutors.

Polish authorities launched their own investigation into Archbishop Wesolowski shortly after the publication of reports about his alleged misconduct in the Dominican Republic.

The Polish archbishop is reportedly now living at the Vatican. The pledge of the Holy See to cooperate with prosecutors may now be limited by the absence of Vatican legislation allowing for extradition.


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  • Posted by: JimKcda - Jan. 10, 2014 8:58 PM ET USA

    He is not guilty until proven innocent. However, protecting him inside the Vatican is not going to do that and neither will an internal investigation. If the Vatican can prove him innocent, this evidence must be turned over to local authorities in the Dominican Republic and Poland. If they can't, he needs to be laizised and expelled from the Vatican as a criminal. He would be on his own to fight the charges. If guilty, he is not just a sinner, he would be a criminal!

  • Posted by: opraem - Jan. 10, 2014 8:08 PM ET USA

    evidence that the reforms promised by francis on the molestation of children and its cover up by bishops is a big wind with little breeze.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Jan. 10, 2014 7:46 PM ET USA

    Oh,say it isn't so...after all the assertions that the Church is eager to cooperate with authorities,they get in the way of investigating this guy? I only trust Pope Francis at this point,does he know about this,I wonder. He needs a lot of energy to keep up with these rattlesnakes.

  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Jan. 10, 2014 6:58 PM ET USA

    The thing with Vatican law is that it is very easily changed -- there is one lawgiver and that is the Pope. All he has to do is say, "There's a new law allowing extradition of lawbreakers," and it's done. It would be great to see him do it.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 10, 2014 6:15 PM ET USA

    The Church is, in a sense, in public relations. We might say EVANGELIZATION. This does not help. It's a PR disaster and will be globally broadcasted. It is fully as bad as the ongoing and ill-considered efforts in various dioceses here in the US to block extension of statutes of limitation. Did we really think the abuse-and-coverup scandal was behind us? Clericalism, in its self-protecting collegial form, continues.

  • Posted by: Defender - Jan. 10, 2014 4:01 PM ET USA

    This will potentially erase years of putting this kind of thing behind. You would think the archbishop would want to clear his name, too.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jan. 10, 2014 12:10 PM ET USA

    Unwise. Even if Vatican law does not allow for extradition, that does not mean this man cannot be ordered to return to Poland on his own. An in-house investigation will not do; we've had more than enough of that kind of stuff around the globe since the homosexual scandals first broke. Archbishop Wesolowski has to be investigated by civil authorities and, if charged, to stand trial in civil court.....just like the rest of us. No more clericalism or old-boy network.