WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish authorities have asked the Dominican Republic for details about its child sex abuse investigation into two Polish priests, one of whom was the Vatican envoy to the Caribbean country, officials said Wednesday.
The case of the envoy is likely to test the Vatican’s readiness to take legal responsibility for one of its own. The Holy See recalled the envoy, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, on Aug. 21, and relieved him of his mission as apostolic nuncio after learning of the allegations.
Dominican authorities have not asked for any assistance from Poland for their investigation into Wesolowski or the Rev. Wojciech Gil, 36.
The Vatican said it was cooperating with the Dominican investigators. Still it refused repeated requests by The Associated Press asking about Wesolowski’s whereabouts, his reaction to the accusations or whether he had a legal representative to respond to them.
The Rev. Robert Necek, the spokesman for Poland’s Krakow diocese, referred all questions to the Vatican.
Poland’s prosecutor general, Andrzej Seremet, has written to Dominican officials, asking for details of their inquiry and whether it revealed any possible wrongdoing on Polish soil, spokesman Mateusz Martyniuk said. Without such information, Poland can’t start its own investigation, he said.
Dominican Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito told TVN24 that the prosecutors were writing up their conclusions and “no wrongdoing will go unpunished.”
Polish-born Pope John Paul II made Wesolowski bishop in 2000 and appointed him his envoy to Bolivia and later to former Soviet Republics like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Pope Benedict XVI sent him to the Dominican Republic in 2008.
Gil was in Poland on vacation when the allegations surfaced and hasn’t returned to the Dominican Republic, even though his superior has told him to face the Dominican justice system, the Rev. Aleksander Ogrodnik, who is in the same convent as Gil, told the AP. Gil’s whereabouts were unknown to the convent, Ogrodnik said.
Gil brought Dominican altar boys on vacation to Poland several times and lodged them at his mother’s house and at the local parish house, Polish media reported.