Dominican Republic, Vatican continue investigation of former nuncio

The attorney general of the Dominican Republic met Dec. 2 with Vatican City's promoter of justice to discuss the sex abuse case against Jozef Wesolowski, a former archbishop who had served as nuncio to the Caribbean nation.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, released a statement saying Francisco Dominguez Brito, the attorney general, requested the meeting during his trip to Europe to make contact with officials at the Vatican and in Wesolowski's native Poland.

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The meeting took place "within the framework of the international cooperation of the investigating agencies," Father Lombardi said. The meeting "was useful for both sides given the complexity of the inquest" and the likelihood that the Vatican will make a formal request for evidence from the investigation in the Dominican Republic.

Citing the "gravity of the accusations" of sexually abusing boys in the Dominican Republic, the Vatican placed Wesolowski under house arrest in late September. "In light of the medical condition of the accused, supported by medical documentation," he was not housed in a Vatican jail cell.

In his Dec. 2 statement, Father Lombardi said the Vatican's criminal investigation of Wesolowski is continuing, but the time limit for house arrest had expired. The former nuncio, he said, "has been allowed a certain freedom of movement, but with the obligation of remaining within the (Vatican City) State."

After a separate investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Wesolowski was dismissed from the clerical state in June, depriving him of all rights and duties associated with being a priest except the obligation of celibacy.

He had been nuncio to the Dominican Republic until August 2013, when Pope Francis ordered him to return to the Vatican and the investigations began.

Wesolowski is likely to face a criminal trial at the Vatican and Father Lombardi said the Vatican's criminal investigations are continuing. The former nuncio has been interrogated once and other sessions are planned, he said.

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