VATICAN CITY (RNS) Jozef Wesolowski, the ex-Vatican envoy stripped of diplomatic immunity after claims he sexually abused young boys in the Dominican Republic, may face a criminal trial in the Caribbean country.

Francisco Dominguez Brito, the Dominican Republic’s attorney general, issued a statement saying it was “just and positive” for the Vatican to remove Wesolowski’s immunity and that the country would consider seeking the former archbishop’s extradition so he could stand trial there.

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, is pictured during a 2011 ceremony in Santo Domingo. The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found the archbishop guilty of sexual abuse of minors and has ordered that he be laicized.

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, is pictured during a 2011 ceremony in Santo Domingo. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found the archbishop guilty of sexual abuse of minors and has ordered that he be laicized. RNS photo by Orlando Barria/CNS


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“At this time extradition is an option. However, first we must look at the details of the Vatican’s decision,” the prosecutor said. “It is clear that since this man no longer has immunity, this can help us on the question of extradition so that he can come here and face justice.”

His comments were published on a Dominican news website and confirmed by an official at the Dominican Embassy in Rome on Tuesday (Aug. 26).

The Vatican does not have an extradition agreement with the Dominican Republic, though it is possible Italy could decide to extradite Wesolowski if he leaves the confines of the 108-acre Vatican City State.

On Monday, the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Wesolowski had lost his diplomatic immunity. Lombardi said Wesolowski may now be exposed to proceedings elsewhere, where specific legal jurisdictions apply.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the Vatican had acted irresponsibly in the case and Wesolowski should be arrested immediately.

“Our fear is that he’ll ‘disappear’ before police can nab him. And we urge Vatican officials to do everything in their power to help secular authorities apprehend him before he flees,” said Barbara Dorris, SNAP outreach director.

Wesolowski was recalled from Santo Domingo last August after rumors emerged in the Dominican Republic that he had sexually molested young boys. The Polish-born Wesolowski was a highly respected ambassador of the Holy See and had been ordained both as a priest and a bishop by St. John Paul II, the former pope.

In June, Wesolowski was defrocked after a Vatican tribunal found him guilty under canon law of abusing young boys. He recently appealed that sentence and a final decision is expected in October, Lombardi said.

Polish authorities have also been looking to extradite the former archbishop and it is unclear whether Warsaw will make a fresh request.

YS/MG END MCKENNA

3 Comments

  1. Does anyone know where Josef Wesolowski is living now..? He should be arrested immediately…
    This serial child predator can not be allowed to roam the streets freely.
    Thankfully because of the brave victims and the news media, there is a possibility that Josef Wesolowski could be extradited and stand trial for his crimes against innocent children in the Dominican Republic.
    These victims are to be commended for their courage for speaking up and taking action about being sexually abused by Wesolowski.
    This is not an easy thing to do, but it is extremely rare that a child predator has only one victim. Some have many. Child predators need to be kept far away from kids forever, so let’s hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may also have been harmed by Wesolowski, will find the courage to speak up and contact local law enforcement. Your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.
    Judy Jones, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, snapjudy@gmail.com

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