Predatory priest to be on trial by the Vatican

Predatory priest to be on trial by the Vatican

The Vatican today announced that it would open a trial of its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, above, on charges of sexually abusing boys.

The case of the former envoy and archbishop caused an international scandal when it was learned that the Vatican had secretly recalled him from Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital, before officials in the Caribbean nation could investigate.

At the time the Catholic Church said he could not be tried in the Dominican Republic because he had diplomatic immunity.

Wesolowski came to the attention of the Dominican authorities after a television journalist aired an investigation reporting that the ambassador had a habit of picking up shoeshine boys along the waterfront and taking them to secluded spots.

Some boys said he molested them after he gave them money.

Wesolowski was defrocked by the Vatican in June 2014 and has been awaiting a criminal trial by the Vatican since then.

A July 11 hearing will be the first trial on sexual abuse charges held under new rules for criminal procedures put in place by Pope Francis.

It was not known until today that the Vatican would also bring child pornography charges against the former ambassador.

The Vatican said that these were “serious charges” and that it would be a “delicate and detailed procedure.”

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev Ciro Benedettini, said that Vatican officials had found child pornography on the former ambassador’s computer and dated it to Wesolowski’s time in the Dominican Republic.

The announcement of the trial’s opening came on the same day as the resignation of the archbishop of St Paul and Minneapolis, whose archdiocese was recently indicted on mishandling sexual abuse by a priest.

Last week, the Vatican announced that it was creating a new tribunal to judge bishops accused of covering up or mishandling accusations of sexual abuse in their dioceses.

Father Benedettini said it was “pure coincidence” that the resignation of the archbishop of St Paul and Minneapolis came on the same day as the announcement of the Wesolowski trial.

He said it took so long to set a trial date because the investigation was “complex” and done in muliple countries.
“It takes time to verify and check,” he said.

Prosecutors in Wesolowski’s homeland, Poland, said that they were also interested in bringing a case against him, but that they did not have the cooperation of the Vatican or information from Dominican officials.

Hat tip: Trevor Blake

18 responses to “Predatory priest to be on trial by the Vatican”

  1. Broga says:

    I wonder how many paedophiles will be involved in sitting in judgement on Wesolowski? The charade which is about to begin is that the judges are all pure and undefiled by carnal lusts and judging a sinner. Not too long ago I was reading about rent boys being smuggled into the Vatican to service the Cardinals. And Cardinals having favourite sex locations in Rome.

    Perhaps it has all changed now and I need to get a grip on my cynicism.

  2. RussellW says:

    It’s not a real trial, it’s simply another Vatican exercise in smoke and mirrors.

  3. JohnMWhite says:

    Weren’t his crimes committed in the Dominican Republic? On what grounds does The Vatican get to try him under their house rules they just made up? They like to assert diplomatic immunity but if they are charging him with something themselves, they clearly believe he has a case to answer, so to rob his hosts (and victims) of a real process is just a slap in the face. And yet the church seems to think this is going to make their decades of willful negligence better…

  4. Vanity Unfair says:

    The immunity of an ambassador may be waived by the country he represents. Admittedly, this is a very rare occurrence.
    Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

    Article 32
    1.The immunity from jurisdiction of diplomatic agents and of persons enjoying immunity under article 37 may be waived by the sending State.
    2.Waiver must always be express.

    States hardly ever hand over diplomats to the foreign power but will usually recall them. The Vatican is also using

    Article 31
    4.The immunity of a diplomatic agent from the jurisdiction of the receiving State does not exempt him from the jurisdiction of the sending State.

    in an attempt to mollify opinion in the Dominican Republic. It would seem that the Vatican did not have relevant legislation in force at the time of the alleged offences so is using the lesser charges. Retrospective legislation is always a difficult matter to justify.
    I’m not saying it’s right, just that the Vatican is not acting illegally.

  5. Vanity Unfair says:

    For the purposes of the answer I did not consider whether the Vatican owed a higher duty to its god to act ethically and morally towards the citizens of the state in which its ambassador resided, nor did I consider whether the Vatican City deserves in any way to be accorded the dignity of a sovereign state.

  6. JohnMWhite says:

    I did not consider whether the Vatican owed a higher duty to its god to act ethically and morally towards the citizens of the state in which its ambassador resided

    That’s ok, neither did the Vatican.

  7. sailor1031 says:

    So the vatican powers will now go after those bishops who covered up the rapes of children; but IIRC weren’t the coverups at least in part because of orders from the vatican issued by the rattenfaenger when he was heading up the inquisition?

  8. JohnMWhite says:

    Exactly so. Why do you think they really want to do these things in the Vatican as opposed to somewhere else where the rest of the world might hear who knew what and didn’t do anything about it?

  9. Robster says:

    Ye Haw! Sheriff Frank’s riding into town on his trusty steed. He’ll be rounding up all the recalcitrant priests, which must be most of them and he’ll corral them a Fort Vatican. There they’ll be wafted with incense smoke and bathed in holy water before settling down for a dinner of high calorie, freshly baked Jesus and a drop of red. After this they’ll be ruthlessly instructed on how to cover their tracks, keeping the victims quiet and keeping out of sight while chasing new victims for their offering of pastoral attention. So, really nothing’s changing.

  10. Stephen Mynett says:

    It seems the worst sentence he can get is two years gaol and a fine, the Vatican have set two years as the maximum sentence. Yet another reason why we should stop recognising this criminal centre as a genuine state.

    I expect the likes of Tom80 and all the other doting papists will fall for another publicity stunt by Mad Frankie but it is a pity many outside of the Vatican are also so gullible.

  11. AgentCormac says:

    Number one task for ‘the jury’ will be protecting the church. All other considerations will come a very distant second. And as Broga has already commented above, this is a charade – if they were even remotely serious about bringing the criminals within their midst to justice, they would hand them over to secualr authorities instead of offering them protection under the guise of diplomatic immunity.

    On a different note, I am pleased to see that Frankie is to speak out on behalf of the planet in his forthcoming encyclical entitled ‘Laudato Si: On the care of the common home’ which will, apparently, call for swift action to ‘protect god’s creation’. I wholeheartedly diagree with him on the ‘god’s creation’ bit, but personally I welcome his intervention on this subject, especially as the list of Republican candidates in the forthcoming US election makes for frightening reading, both from an environmental and religious perspective.

  12. Newspaniard says:

    At what rank (?) do catholic priests become ambassadors? Have they ALL got diplomatic immunity?

    Just askin’.

  13. barriejohn says:

    Pope Francis on Monday accepted the resignation of two US bishops on Monday, 10 days after a Minnesota prosecutor filed criminal charges against their diocese for failing to protect children from a sexually abusive priest.

  14. Broga says:

    I think the Vatican is on a “Let’s do whatever we can to fend off the increasing sexual abuse pressure” mission. They will use their consider ability at casuistry and shuffle, sidestep, promise, reassure, apologise. Anything to reduce the heat.

    If they could get away with doing nothing and leave the paedophiles in place they would do it. Look at their track record. But they don’t care about the victims. What they do care about is protecting their priests and the scam they have had going for centuries.

  15. dennis says:

    the yin and yang of life. the earth and the pedophile of life.

  16. gedediah says:

    I wonder what Vatican gaol conditions are like? Ok, silly question, it’ll be a palace, won’t it?

  17. Trevor Blake says:

    The Vatican is welcome to admit that since 1962 they have sheltered clergy rapists as official policy…

    Or they can let a few rapist clergy be caught and punished while sheltering most.

    Place your bets.

  18. Vanity Unfair says:

    To Newspaniard:
    The ambassadors (I think the RC term is Nuncios) are civil servants who happen to be priests. (Of course, if they weren’t priests they would be unlikely to civil servants in the Holy See.) It is that that gives them and their ambassadorial staff their diplomatic immunity, not their church rank. They are mostly archbishops for ceremonial purposes.
    Any other priest is liable to arrest by the secular authority for crimes committed against national law. (But the police have to be quick because it is not unknown for errant priests to be transferred to new posts outside the jurisdiction. That’s just a coincidence.)
    The Holy See has diplomatic relations with 180 states (not Saudi Arabia) and several international organisations. However, the website does not name the ambassadors.
    Yours is The Most Reverend Renzo Fratini, Titular Archbishop of Botriana,Nuncio to Spain and Andorra. (As if Spain wasn’t enough.) I’m sure he will love answering questions.