Vatican recalls diplomat from United States in child porn probe

Vatican recalls diplomat from United States in child porn probe

In a statement, the Vatican said the State Department had notified the Vatican on August 21 of a "possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images" by one of its diplomats in Washington.

It's hardly a welcome development, but this case does give Pope Francis a chance to demonstrate whether the Catholic Church's leadership has learned its lessons from the decades-long abuse scandals around the world. The Holy See announced the move today, and report that officials have begun an investigation into the priest's activities.

A Vatican diplomat working in Washington has been recalled to the Holy See after the US State Department said the priest may have violated child pornography laws.

After being notified of the probe by the State Department, the Vatican told the USA that the matter had been referred to the "promoter of justice at the Vatican tribunal", which is the office overseeing prosecutions within the city-state.

The Associated Press reported that the State Department had asked the Vatican to lift the official's diplomatic immunity on August 21, but that request was denied.

The priest, who authorities declined to identify, was a senior member of the Vatican embassy staff, the news agency reported, citing an official familiar with the case.

The Vatican also stressed that in accordance with laws "applicable to all preliminary inquiries, the investigations carried out by the Promoter of Justice are subject to investigative confidentiality".


The Vatican refused to extradite Wesolowksi to Poland to face trial, but an ecclesiastical court found him guilty and he was defrocked - the maximum penalty then available.

"He won praise from advocates of survivors of abuse for having established a commission of experts to advise the church on keeping pedophiles out of the priesthood and protecting children".

United States prosecutors had requested the Vatican lift the diplomatic immunity of the official, hoping to bring the unidentified diplomat to trial on child pornography charges.

When Wesolowski was defrocked, he lost his diplomatic immunity, enabling him to be tried by other courts.

He was the first high-ranking Catholic official to stand trial in the Vatican on such sex charges and the case was closely watched by victims of priestly abuse, who have accused the Vatican of repeatedly hushing up previous scandals.

The Vatican doesn't have extradition treaties. Two year's later, while being held under house arrest in Vatican City, he was indicted for possession of child pornography. Distribution can be punished with a term of up to five years and a 50,000-euro fine, while the most serious offense of production can bring a 12-year term and 250,000-euro fine.

Francis has a spotty record on handling sex abuse cases.

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