Vatican recalls Dominican Rep. envoy over paedophilia accusations

VATICAN CITY Wed Sep 4, 2013 11:42pm IST

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican has recalled its ambassador to the Dominican Republic and relieved him of his duties pending an investigation, after local media accused him of paedophilia, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Reuters that the Holy See had started an investigation into Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, who has been nuncio (ambassador) in Santo Domingo for nearly six years.

"He has been recalled. He has been relieved of his duties and the Holy See has begun an investigation," Lombardi said when asked about allegations against Wesolowski in the local media.

Lombardi said Wesolowski was recalled "in the last few weeks" specifically over the paedophilia accusations.

Wesolowski could not be reached for comment on his recall.

Several weeks after his election in March as the first non-European Pope in 1,300 years, Francis said he wanted the Catholic Church to "act decisively" to root out sexual abuse of children by priests and ensure the perpetrators are punished. (Additional reporting by Manuel Jimenez in Santo Domingo and David Adams in Miami; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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