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Vatican Prosecutor Indicts Defrocked Priest On Pedophilia Charges

A Vatican prosecutor has indicted the Holy See's former ambassador to the Dominican Republic on charges that he sexually abused minors.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports the trial of Jozef Wesolowski will begin July 11 at a Vatican court. She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Wesolowski was called back to the Vatican in 2013 after reports circulated in Santo Domingo that he had allegedly paid shoeshine boys to masturbate.

"Wesolowski, who was ordained a bishop in 2000, has since been defrocked and put under house arrest inside Vatican City — becoming the first person arrested in the Vatican on charges of pedophilia. A Vatican statement said the alleged crimes committed in the Dominican Republic were based on a police investigation there.

"The charge of having child pornography on his computer was based on a Vatican investigation after Wesolowski had been called back. At the time of his arrest the Vatican said that if convicted he could face up to 12 years in jail."

Last week, the Vatican announced the creation of a tribunal to hear cases against senior clergy.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.