Ex-prelate hospitalised ahead of sex trial

2015-07-11 11:04
Jozef Wesolowski, (AP)

Jozef Wesolowski, (AP)

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Vatican City - A former papal diplomat charged with the sexual abuse of boys was hospitalised and put in intensive care ahead of the opening on Saturday of his trial, Vatican officials said.

The trial against Jozef Wesolowski, who faces charges of abusing shoe-shine boys in the Dominican Republic and with possessing child pornography, had been scheduled to open on Saturday morning in a Vatican courtroom. The judge was expected to adjourn to a later date.

There were no details immediately available about Wesolowski's medical condition.

His trial was seen as a high-profile way for Pope Francis with to make good on pledges to punish high-ranking churchmen involved in sex abuse of minors, either by molesting children or by systematically covering up for priests who did.

Wesolowski was the first such high-ranking Vatican prelate to be criminally charged at the Holy See for sexually abusing minors.

He was ordained and later appointed as bishop by St John Paul II, a fellow Pole whose papacy was marked by reluctance to fire bishops in abuse scandals. Wesolowski, 66, has been reduced to layman's status under separate church law procedures and had been under house arrest in the tiny Vatican City State.

In 2008, during Benedict XVI's papacy, Wesolowski was appointed Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

The Vatican said Wesolowski lost his diplomatic immunity in 2014, the year following his recall after rumours surfaced about the abuse. Dominican authorities have said they uncovered allegations Wesolowski paid at least six minors to watch them masturbate and that he had recorded it with his mobile phone.

Read more on:    vatican city  |  child abuse

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