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Apostolic Nuncio investigated for alleged sexual abuse

By on Thursday, 5 September 2013

Archbishop Josef Wesolowski is being investigated (AP Photo)

Archbishop Josef Wesolowski is being investigated (AP Photo)

The Dominican Republic’s top prosecutor has said that he plans to investigate claims of sexual abuse allegedly committed by the apostolic nuncio to the Caribbean country, just a day after the Vatican confirmed its own investigation into the allegations.

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, appointed as nuncio in 2008, was removed from the post on August 21, and a Dominican bishop confirmed in early September that the dismissal was due to the sexual abuse scandal unfolding in the country.

Days after Archbishop Wesolowski’s removal, a television news programme aired allegations that he had paid for sex with minors and was connected to a Polish priest accused of sexually assaulting at least 14 underage boys.

The programme, “Nuria”, claimed that Archbishop Wesolowski regularly visited Santo Domingo’s historic center, where he allegedly drank alcohol and paid for sex with underage boys in an abandoned monument nearby.

Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito said he plans to open an investigation, although it was unclear if he had legal jurisdiction over the case since it involves a diplomatic representative.

These are “serious allegations which involve children and adolescents who appear to have been abused, violating both their physical and psychological integrity,” Mr Dominguez said in a statement. “I can ensure that the prosecution is not going to cease.”

Dominguez said prosecutors are already investigating the priest, Fr Alberto Gil Nojache, and have interviewed two of the alleged victims. Fr Gil was suspended from active ministry in May.

Neither Archbishop Wesolowski nor Fr Gil could be reached for comment.

Mr Dominguez’s announcement followed news that the Vatican had previously opened its own investigation into the matter.

Initially, the Vatican did not state why Archbishop Wesolowski, 65, had been removed from his position. But the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi told Spanish news agency EFE on Tuesday that the Vatican had been investigating claims of Archbishop Wesolowski’s ties to sexual abuse.

Archbishop Wesolowski arrived in the country in January 2008 and also served as apostolic delegate to neighboring Puerto Rico. He drew praise from Cardinal Nicolas Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo, who called him a “great friend and promoter of peace” as recently as last week.

The cardinal’s press office said it had no comment on the claims against Archbishop Wesolowski and that Cardinal Lopez had no immediate plans to make a statement on the situation.

Mgr Agripino Nunez Collado, rector of Mother and Teacher Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago, however, called for Archbishop Wesolowski to be investigated and prosecuted.

“When there are these types of situations, justice must be done,” Mgr Nunez told members of the press. “A person can have his weaknesses … but these abuses, with minors, with boys, this is unforgiveable.”

  • Jonathan West

    If the church wants to show that it is coming to grips with the abuse crisis, it will waive diplomatic immunity in this matter.

  • Johnny

    Poor Josef. What will he do now? Perhaps he can get some help from his great friends?

  • Benedict Carter

    Another one?

  • Viking

    Mgr Nunez told members of the press. “A person can have his weaknesses … but these abuses, with minors, with boys, this is unforgiveable.”

    No. These abuses are disgraceful, shameful, intolerable and inexcusable. Thankfully, nothing is unforgiveable to someone who sincerely repents, and turns away from sin and to the Lord. May justice be done for all victims, and yet may those guilty of such wicked crimes and sins seek and find forgiveness and mercy.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    It is good. Let more of such cases be brought out. The Church will be purified and will become authentic in her leaders and the lead, let us hope and pray.

    Asharam Bapu of India, a sant (Saint?) for many people in India, is reportedly involved in a sexual assault case on a sixteen year old girl. Wait for the Truth to come out. The case is in the Court and Asharam Bapu is in Jail.

    ALL organised Religions need to be transparent and be purified and must be able to reveal God on experiential level or else they are mostly bogus.

    T.P.SSP

  • Guest

    If the Church wants to show that it is getting to grips with this crisis, those with the appropriate responsibility should strictly abide by the 2005 Instruction that the Church cannot admit to Holy Orders those who commit the unnatural vice or support its commission by others.

  • Weissmuller

    What is it with Gurus and young girls? How come that does not get half the attention that priests and boys get?

  • Andrew Lamb

    I have to agree with Jonathan, the waiving of diplomatic immunity would show that the church, once and for all is not helping those who have allegedly committed such acts. – this would demonstrate to the world that there is real change within the organisation.

  • aspiring lay capuchin

    Now that he is stripped of his diplomatic immunity by no longer being a NUNCIO, send him back to DR to face criminal charges there. Pope Francis should mean what he said on the plane back from Brazil – namely sexual abuse is very serious. It is a criminal charge. Why should we give these so called clerical barbarians much face?

  • indian christian

    the bapu is not in jail. He is regularly going round the country giving preachings the last one was in Indore.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    T.P.SSP:

    Asaram Bapu not the only Baba in Rajasthan jail

    Rohit Parihar
    New Delhi, September 5, 2013 | UPDATED 21:25 IST

    Asaram Bapu is not the only “Baba” jailed in Rajasthan. Another guru is
    in Jhunjhunu jail for allegedly murdering his devotee while blessing him
    on August 13, two days before Asaram sexually assaulted a minor girl in
    Jodhpur.

    Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/asaram-bapu-not-the-only-baba-in-rajasthan-jail/1/305704.html

  • Benedict Carter

    Agreed. It used to be called “surrendering XYZ to the civil arm”.

  • Eduardo Linares Batres

    Though
    a tired propensity, Catholic Church policy is now, and has been for centuries
    on end, to obscure valid, realistic discussions and actions in secular world
    events, typically through voicing self-serving platitudes in order to maintain an
    “illusion of saintliness” for the institution and its leaders. Knowing that problems
    like Hitler or Stalin cannot be solved through wishes and prayers, they say: “war
    is bad because it destroys…,” as if discovering the ocean. Not to worry; we should
    internalize that “love is action (‘morals must be practiced’) and not voiced
    good reasons” and remember the sly way that that very-centrally-organized
    religion has hidden its sins of child abuse and corruption over time. So, it is
    all a struggle to keep ebbing moral authority, even while presently not
    disclosing the whereabouts of a nuncio –a Church ambassador– that has fled when
    rumors suggested his involvement in child abuses.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    People of higher values and claims will be more severely punished…..