Vatican arrests former ambassador on child sex abuse charges

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A former Vatican ambassador has been placed under house arrest and will face a criminal trial on child sex charges.The action against Józef Wesołowski, 66, is the first time that the Vatican has charged a high-ranking official with paedophilia. If found guilty he could face up to 12 years in prison.

The Polish-born cleric was recalled from the Dominican Republic in August 2013 after the archbishop of Santo Domingo told Pope Francis about rumours that Wesołowski had sexually abused teenage boys in the Caribbean country. Prosecutors there say he allegedly paid boys as young as 13 to masturbate.

In June a Vatican tribunal found Wesołowski guilty of abuse and imposed its toughest penalty under church law: laicisation, or returning to life as a layman.

Being defrocked meant that he lost his diplomatic immunity and the Dominican Republic has opened an investigation into accusations that he paid boys to perform sexual acts.

The Vatican had been criticised for protecting Wesołowski from legal action by the Dominican authorities by recalling him last year.

The case has also been a test of whether Francis is willing to prosecute a crime that the Vatican has long sought to blame on priests, rather than direct representatives of the pope himself.

The Vatican said the arrest reflected the wishes of the Pope that “such a grave and delicate case be handled without delay, with the just and necessary rigour”.

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Francis has said that no Catholic clerics who sexually abused children would escape punishment and has described paedophilia as an “ugly crime” and likened it to a “satanic mass”.

Wesołowski is the most prominent church figure to be arrested since Paolo Gabriele, a former papal butler convicted in 2012 of stealing and leaking private papers of the former pope Benedict XVI.

The Pole was granted house arrest in a Vatican apartment on medical grounds rather than being detained in its prison – a small number of rooms attached to a courthouse.

It is unclear whether Wesołowski would be jailed inside the Vatican, or in an Italian prison, if convicted. What is clear is that unlike Lord Janner who we are told is suffering from Dementia this former Vatican Ambassador will suffer the full brunt of the criminal law.

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Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests for child abuse

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Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests in just two years, for molesting children, according to a document obtained by the Associated Press.

The statistics for 2011 and 2012 show a dramatic increase over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi confirmed that the figures were accurate.

Prior to that, the Vatican had only publicly revealed the number of alleged cases of sexual abuse it had received and the number of trials it had authorized.

While it’s not clear why the numbers spiked in 2011, it could be because 2010 saw a new explosion in the number of cases reported in the media in Europe and beyond.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s UN ambassador in Geneva, referred to just one of the statistics in the course of eight hours of sometimes pointed criticism and questioning from the UN human rights committee.

The statistics were compiled from the Vatican’s own annual reports about the activities of its various offices, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles sex abuse cases. Although public, the annual reports are not readily available or sold outside Rome and are usually found in Vatican offices or Catholic university libraries.

An AP review of the reference books shows a remarkable evolution in the Holy See’s in-house procedures to discipline pedophiles since 2001, when the Vatican ordered bishops to send cases of all credibly accused priests to Rome for review.

Imagine that, four hundred priests sacked in just over twenty four months. But here in the UK we’ve allowed Lord Brittan to go to his death bed in peace, Lord Janner to develop Dementia and Jimmy Savile & Cyril Smith were buried six feet under before we found out about their prolific child abusing tendencies. Let’s face it, we’re not quite up to the standards of the pontificate yet, are we?

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Musician Roy Gaynor had child abuse images – including 15 minute film

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A MUSICIAN and songwriter had a USB stick containing more than 300 indecent images of children in his pocket when police raided his home, a court has heard.

Roy Gaynor told officers: “Everything you’re looking for is on there” moments after they visited the property in Sea Road, Boscombe, as part of an investigation into the downloading of indecent photographs of child sex abuse victims.

The 68-year-old had a total of 323 pictures and moving images, including 152 in category A – the most serious of the divisions – as well as 26 in category B and 145 in category C. One distressing film timed at more than six minutes long involved the abuse of a baby less than a year old, while another film of more than 15 minutes in duration involved a youngster under the age of 12.

Gaynor had downloaded the footage and images between March 2011 and March 2015, and told police he had sourced the images “erratically”, admitting he found them “titillating”.

He said he had started accessing such images following the death of his eldest son from a brain tumour 10 years ago.

At a sentence hearing before a judge at Bournemouth Crown Court, prosecutor Carolyn Branford-Wood said officers from Dorset Police‘s Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) attended Gaynor’s home after receiving information from the National Crime Agency. “A search was commenced at the address and in the right-hand pocket of the trousers [Gaynor] was wearing, a USB device was found,” she said.

Gaynor, who admitted 16 counts of making indecent images at a preliminary hearing in March, describes himself as a guitarist, singer and ‘prolific songwriter’ with more than 30 years of experience performing with bands and orchestras on website Starnow.

Earlier this year, the defendant was seeking performers for a new musical called Up the Ressie, said to be loosely based on his own childhood experiences in 1950s London.

Anne Brown, mitigating for Gaynor, said the defendant has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity since the death of his son.

“The defendant recognises that he needs help,” she said.

“He recognised [that] from the moment the police knocked on the door [and he had] the crashing realisation he had done something very wrong.”

Ms Brown said Gaynor ploughed £82,000 of his own money into producing a musical with the express intention that all money raised would be donated to the Brain Tumour Trust, a charity for which he has helped to raise £42,000 in less than a decade.

Recorder Nicholas Haggan QC expressed concern that Gaynor recruits children for parts in his musicals online.

However, Ms Brown said there is “no suggestion whatsoever he has been contacting children on the internet for any nefarious or sexually-linked purpose”.

Mr Haggan – who said the images were “disturbing, to put it neutrally” – sentenced Gaynor to a three-year community order, during which time he will work with specialists from the Thames Valley Sex Offender Programme.

He will also been subjected to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the next five years.