Diplomat facing abuse charges dies awaiting Vatican trial

A former papal ambassador awaiting a Vatican trial for abuse of minors and possessing child pornography has died after a suspected heart attack.

Former archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, 67, was found dead “during the first hours of the morning”, the Vatican said in a statement on August 28.

He was reportedly found in a room with the television turned on at 5 am by a Franciscan priest who works as a confessor at St Peter’s Basilica.

Wesolowski had been under modified house arrest.

The Vatican stated that initial autopsy results indicated a “cardiac event”.

Further detail on the cause of death could come from subsequent laboratory results, the Vatican added.

Pope Francis “has been duly informed” of the death, the Vatican stated.

Wesolowski served as the Pope’s representative to the Dominican Republic until being accused of sexual misconduct with minors in 2013.

The first and only hearing of the former nuncio’s trial in the Vatican took place on July 11, but was suspended when he failed to appear.

The court heard that Wesolowski had been transferred to the intensive care unit of a public hospital following the onset of an unexpected illness.

The July hearing by the Vatican city-state court was the first such hearing by the court for an allegation of sexual abuse of minors.

Wesolowski was also being charged by Vatican authorities for accessing pornographic material involving children after being removed from the Dominican Republic and during his reported house arrest.

The criminal charges against the Polish national became possible after 2013, when Pope Francis approved new criminal laws applicable to all Vatican employees across the world.

Any direct employee of the Holy See, including those working in a nunciature, can face a criminal trial at the Vatican as well as criminal prosecution in the country where the alleged crimes occurred.

Wesolowski was dismissed from the clerical state in June 2014 after an investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


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