Former Vatican ambassador defrocked for sex abuse

BY Nora Daly  June 27, 2014 at 11:54 AM EST

Jozef Wesolowski has been convicted of sexually abusing children. 2011 file photo by Erika Santelices/Getty Images

Jozef Wesolowski has been convicted of sexually abusing children. 2011 file photo by Erika Santelices/Getty Images

The Vatican announced Friday that former Archbishop Josef Wesolowski has been dismissed from the clerical state after being found guilty of sexual abuse by a church tribunal. Wesolowski, a former apostolic nuncio, or papal diplomat, to the Dominican Republic, is the highest-ranking Vatican official to receive such a sentence.

Wesolowski, who is from Poland, was recalled from his post in August amid allegations that he had sexually abused teenage boys. At the time, the Vatican’s decision to extradite Wesolowski, and try him as a citizen of the Holy See raised questions, as some worried the move protected him from facing trial by Dominican officials.

Wesolowski has two months to appeal the ruling. He will also face criminal charges in Vatican City, and could receive a prison sentence.