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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/27/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Shoeshine boys in Dominican Republic said they were paid by archbishop for lewd acts

Loathsome details have come to light over defrocked Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican's ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Shoeshine boys say that Wesolowski would cruise the oceanfront promenade and offer them large sums of money for sexual acts. 

Shoeshine boys int he Dominican Republic say that Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski would cruise the oceanfront promenade and offer them large sums of money for sexual acts.

Shoeshine boys int he Dominican Republic say that Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski would cruise the oceanfront promenade and offer them large sums of money for sexual acts.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/27/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, sexual abuse, Dominican republic, shoeshine boys


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "He definitely seduced me with money," one victim says. "I felt very bad. I knew it wasn't the right thing to do, but I needed the money."

The occasion marks 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. Both the Dominican Republic and Poland, where Wesolowski was ordained by the Polish prelate who later became Pope John Paul II, have since begun a rigorous crackdown on clergy abuse.

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Pope Francis has denounced child sexual abuse as "an ugly crime" and has pledged to move the Roman Catholic Church into an era of "zero tolerance." For priests and bishops who have violated children, he told reporters in May, "There are no privileges."

Wesolowski faced the harshest penalty possible under the church's canon law, short of excommunication. IN June, he was defrocked by the Vatican, reducing him to the status of a layman. The Vatican, which as a city-state has its own judicial system says it intends to try Wesolowski on criminal charges - the first time the Vatican has held a criminal trial for sexual abuse.

This has stirred cries of protest within some quarters as it seemingly aided Wesolowski in avoiding criminal prosecution and a possible jail sentence in the Dominican Republic. 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 Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic.

The Vatican is moving more assertively and swiftly than before when it comes to removing pedophiles from the priesthood. As Wesolowski's case suggests, however, 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.

"From the pure standpoint of justice, he should be tried in the country where the acts took place because the conditions for trying him will not be the same elsewhere," Antonio Medina Calcańo, dean of the faculty of law and political science of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo says. "But all we can do is hope that the courts in the Vatican will treat this with the severity that it really deserves."

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