|Irish priest O'Reilly and Polish Papal envoy Wesolowski investigated for child sex
The Dominican Republic is investigating allegations of child sex abuse against Polish-born papal envoy Archbishop Josef Wesolowski (pictured) following his abrupt removal by the Vatican, the attorney general said.
The news came as Irish-born priest Father John O'Reilly was ordered under house arrest in Chile, amid a widening pedophilia scandal that has engulfed the Legion of Christ in Chile.
O'Reilly, a senior figure in the order, was detained while authorities investigate allegations against him and others at an exclusive school run by the order in Santiago.
Officials said O'Reilly is barred from leaving home and has been denied the right to leave the country. He also has been relieved of all his priestly duties and forbidden from having contact with minors.
In the Dominican Republic, Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito said his office is aware only of rumors about the papal nuncio, Archbishop Wesolowski, and has not received any accusations.
A Vatican spokesman, reverend Federico Lombardi, confirmed that Polish-born Wesolowski had been removed from his post and that the church was investigating.
Dominguez said the investigation is in response to media reports of allegations of sexual misconduct by Wesolowski as well as a friend and fellow priest.
“We will not allow anyone to use the Catholic Church or other religious institutions as a shield to commit illegal acts, especially against children,'' he said.
Wesolowski's sudden departure from the Dominican Republic in recent days has been the cause of feverish speculation in local media. Dominican television network NCDN, citing a statement from the director of a community group, reported that Wesolowski had slept in the same room as several altar boys at his beach house.
Shortly before his removal, several residents of the mountain town of Juncalito made allegations of sexual abuse against reverend Alberto Gil Wojciech, also a Polish priest and a friend of Wesolowski. The community leader, Pedro Espinal, said Wojciech took altar boys to the home of Wesolowski.
Wojciech was in Poland on vacation when the allegations surfaced and has not returned to the Dominican Republic.
In Chile, the Legion of Christ, a group of priests and seminarians founded in Mexico in 1941, became embroiled in scandal in 2005 when its founder and leader, Marcial Maciel, stepped down amid sexual abuse allegations.
Maciel, who died in 2008, was accused of having sexually abused various children.
Father O'Reilly was the chaplain and spiritual director at the prestigious Colegio Cumbres run by the religious order until July of last year.
Some 20 priests have been embroiled in Chile's widening sex abuse scandal, and so far five have been convicted.
Pope Benedict XVI had named Wesolowski to the post in 2008. He had previously served as papal nuncio in Kazakhstan, Tadjikistan, Kyrgzstan and Uzbekistan, and before that, Bolivia.
He was ordained a priest in 1972 and entered into the Vatican's diplomatic service in 1980, serving in Vatican embassies in Africa, Costa Rica, Japan, Switzerland, India and Denmark, the Catholic news agency Zenit reported when he was named Dominican nuncio in 2008.
In addition to being the Vatican's ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Wesolowski was also apostolic delegate to Puerto Rico.—AP/AFP