The former Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic, Józef Wesolowski, who was awaiting trial on charges he possessed child pornography and abused minors, died inside the Vatican in the early hours of this morning.
A Vatican statement said initial investigations indicated that he died of natural causes and an autopsy will be performed today. The communiqué said Pope Francis had been
informed of Wesolowski's death.
The first and only hearing of the former nuncio’s trial in the Vatican took place on 11 July, but was suspended when he failed to appear. The court heard that Wesolowski had been transferred to the intensive care unit of a public hospital following the onset of an unexpected illness.
The criminal charges against the Polish national became possible after 2013, when Pope Francis approved new criminal laws applicable to all Vatican employees across the world. Any direct employee of the Holy See, including those working in a nunciature, can face a criminal trial at the Vatican as well as criminal prosecution in the country where the alleged crimes occurred.
Wesolowski was dismissed from the clerical state in June 2014 after an investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Above: Jozef Wesolowski, former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, is pictured during a 2011 ceremony in Santo Domingo