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Vatican arrests ex-envoy Wesolowski over child abuse

September 23, 2014 6:24 pm

The Vatican has placed its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, under house arrest on charges of sexually abusing children.

The former archbishop was defrocked in June after a Church tribunal found him guilty of abusing Dominican boys.

He will now be tried by a criminal court, becoming the highest official to face abuse charges in the Vatican.

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Wesolowski, who is originally from Poland, served as a papal envoy to the Dominican Republic for five years.

A Vatican spokesman said the arrest reflected Pope Francis’s wish “that such a grave and delicate case be handled without delay, with the just and necessary rigour”.

Pope Francis has pledged a crackdown on clerics and employees of the Church who exploit minors, comparing their actions to a “satanic mass”.

Last year, he strengthened the Vatican’s laws against child abuse.

The Vatican spokesman said the decision to place Wesolowski under house arrest, rather than hold him in a police cell, was taken on account of his health.

Wesolowski is expected to go on trial later this year.

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