Vatican Charges Ex-Archbishop With Pedophilia

Jozef Wesolowski's arrest is first ever in Vatican for child sexual abuse
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2014 5:00 AM CDT
Vatican Charges Ex-Archbishop With Pedophilia
This March 15, 2013, file photo shows Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, papal nuncio for the Dominican Republic, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.   (AP Photo/Manuel Diaz, File)

The Vatican arrested former Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski yesterday on pedophilia charges and placed him under house arrest until trial—the first official charges within the city-state's walls for child sexual abuse, Reuters reports. It's the latest step for Pope Francis, who has a "zero tolerance" philosophy for child sex abuse, toward flushing out pedophiles in the Roman Catholic Church. Wesolowski, whose age has been reported as 65 or 66, was pulled back to Rome from his job as papal envoy to the Dominican Republic last year and defrocked after being accused of paying for sex with children there.

In a statement cited on Religion News Service, the Vatican indicates that the arrest comes at the "express desire" of the pope himself due to the "seriousness of the allegations." Some people are relieved Wesolowski has now been officially detained after seeing him roam freely, though some wish it had happened sooner. "We are grateful that this action has finally been taken [but] feel it should have happened months ago, and believe it’s better if secular authorities are able to jail and prosecute Wesolowski," says a Chicago director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in a statement, as per RNS. Wesolowski, who could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted, is serving his house arrest in a Vatican apartment due to medical issues, Reuters notes. He's expected to go to trial later this year, the BBC reports. (Read more Vatican stories.)

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