Posts Tagged Dominican Republic
The Vatican put its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic under house arrest Tuesday (Sept. 23) after opening a criminal trial against him, the first time a high-ranking Vatican official has ever faced criminal charges for sexually abusing youngsters.
“Josef Wesolowski had already been defrocked in June after the Vatican’s canon law court found him guilty of abuse and imposed its toughest penalty under church law: laicization, or returning to life as a layman.
“On Tuesday, the Vatican City State’s separate criminal court opened a preliminary hearing into his case and ordered him placed under house arrest.”
By Associated Press on Crux — Click here to read the rest of this story.
“However it ends, the case will be followed as an indicator of Pope Francis’s commitment to true church reform.”
Roman Catholics and much of the world have been closely watching for evidence that Pope Francis has the wherewithal to buck the resistance to reform from the Vatican’s powerful bureaucracy.
“An encouraging sign emerged last week with the announcement that the Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic had been stripped of diplomatic immunity and could be tried there for his alleged soliciting of underage boys for sexual acts. The announcement reversed a devious and secret stratagem engineered by unidentified Vatican officials last year to recall the ambassador, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, before Dominican authorities could bring criminal charges of child abuse against him.”
Editorial in The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
The Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, who has been accused of paying underage boys there to engage in sexual acts, has lost his diplomatic immunity and could ultimately face prosecution in criminal courts outside of the Vatican, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church announced on Monday (Aug. 25).
“The former ambassador, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, has already been defrocked by the Vatican, the harshest penalty under the church’s canon law short of excommunication. Beyond that, the Vatican has also said that it intends to try Mr. Wesolowski on criminal charges — the first time it will hold a criminal trial for sexual abuse.
“But the Vatican has also caused an uproar in the Dominican Republic because it abruptly recalled Mr. Wesolowski last year before he could face a criminal inquiry and possible prosecution there. Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome, and then invoked diplomatic immunity …
“The announcement on Monday came a day after a New York Times article detailed the allegations against Mr. Wesolowski and the Vatican’s handling of the case. In the Vatican’s statement on Monday, the church said that it took the proper steps to make sure that the allegations against Mr. Wesolowski were dealt with seriously.”
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
“… Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic.”
He was a familiar figure to the skinny shoeshine boys who work along the oceanfront promenade here. Wearing black track pants and a baseball cap pulled low over his balding head, they say, he would stroll along in the late afternoon and bring one of them down to the rocky shoreline or to a deserted monument for a local Catholic hero.
“The boys say he gave them money to perform sexual acts. They called him ‘the Italian because he spoke Spanish with an Italian accent.
“It was only after he was spirited out of the country, the boys say, his picture splashed all over the local news media, that they learned his real identity: Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
“’He definitely seduced me with money,’ said Francis Aquino Aneury, who says he was 14 when the man he met shining shoes began offering him increasingly larger sums for sexual acts. ‘I felt very bad. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but I needed the money.’
“The case is the first time that a top Vatican ambassador, or nuncio — who serves as a personal envoy of the pope — has been accused of sexual abuse of minors …
“… Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic.
“The Vatican’s handling of the case shows both the changes the church has made in dealing with sexual abuse, and what many critics call its failures. When it comes to removing pedophiles from the priesthood, the Vatican is moving more assertively and swiftly than before. But as Mr. Wesolowski’s case suggests, the church continues to be reluctant to report people suspected of abuse to the local authorities and allow them to face justice in secular courts …
“The people used to say, ‘I want my child to go to a Catholic church,’ said the Rev. Rogelio Cruz, a Catholic priest in Santo Domingo. ‘Now they say, ‘No child of mine is ever going to a Catholic church.’”
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Also of interest, “A familiar figure on the Santo Domingo waterfront,” by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times.
Voice of the Faithful® hopes the Vatican’s laicization of former archbishop Jozef Wesolowski signals a new, uncompromising commitment to holding hierarchy involved in sexual abuse of minors accountable for their actions. The move seems to demonstrate Pope Francis’ resolve in promoting “zero tolerance” for clergy sexual abuse.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has ordered the laicization of an archbishop-ambassador accused of paying for sex with minors.
“Józef Wesołowski, former apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic, will have two months to prepare an appeal to the ruling, which was announced in a brief statement from the Vatican on Friday (June 27).
“The former nuncio, who the Vatican did not refer to as an archbishop in the statement, was removed from his post in August with little explanation. News accounts days afterward detailed allegations of paying for sex with minors and being connected to a Polish priest accused of sexually assaulting at least 14 underage boys.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Also of interest, “Vatican Defrocks Dominican Envoy Accused of Abuse,” by Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times. Click here to read the story.
A bishop from the Dominican Republic has reported that he was shocked to see a former papal nuncio, who is under investigation on sex-abuse charges, walking freely around the center of Rome.
“Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who had been the Vatican’s representative in the Dominican Republic, was recalled to Rome last year. Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic have said that they have convincing evidence that the prelate molested young men there; he has also been accused of abuse in his native Poland.”
By CatholicCulture.org — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The authorities in the Dominican Republic said they would look into rumors of child sexual abuse involving the papal envoy there after he was abruptly removed from his post by the Vatican. The nation’s attorney general, Francisco Domínguez Brito, said Wednesday (Sept. 4) that his office had not received any accusations about the papal nuncio, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, and was aware only of rumors. A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed that Archbishop Wesolowski had been removed from his post a few weeks ago and that the church was conducting an investigation of him. He declined to provide any further details. Pope Francis in July approved legislation criminalizing child sexual abuse and other sexual crimes. It applies to Vatican employees as well as diplomatic staff members. The location of Archbishop Wesolowski, who is 65, was unknown. A woman at the nuncio’s office in Santo Domingo said no one was available to comment. By Associated Press in The New York Times