Archbishop appeals his defrocking for sexual abuse allegedly committed in Dominican Republic
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/26/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, from Poland, is accused of child sex abuse while he served in the Dominican Republic. He has since appealed against a Roman Catholic tribunal's decision to defrock him, according to the Vatican.
If found guilty in a criminal trial, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski could risk extradition to the Dominican Republic, which has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the case.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Serving as a Vatican nuncio or ambassador to the Caribbean nation, Wesolowski was sentenced in late June to be expelled from the priesthood, which is an extremely rare step against such a senior church official.
"Former nuncio Josef Wesolowski has recently appealed, within the prescribed limit of two months, against the most serious canonical sentence, that of a return to the lay state, which has been imposed upon him," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement.
Wesolowski's appeal will be judged "without delay" over the coming weeks, most likely this October, Lombardi said. Wesolowski, who was recalled last August to the Vatican, had lost diplomatic immunity when he stopped functioning as a diplomat of the Holy See.
Under pressure for over a decade to prevent child sex abuse by priests, criminal proceedings by judicial authorities at the Vatican would continue as soon as the church law sentence becomes definitive, Lombardi said.
If found guilty in a criminal trial, Wesolowski could risk extradition to the Dominican Republic, which has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the case.
The United Nations watchdog against torture had urged the Vatican last May to investigate the case and ensure he is criminally prosecuted or extradited to face charges in the Dominican Republic if warranted.
Lombardi said Pope Francis had been "duly and carefully informed" of the case and wished to address it "justly and rigorously."
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