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Ex-archbishop dies ahead of paedophilia trial: Vatican


ex-archbishop-diesFormer Polish archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who would have been the first high-ranking church official to go on trial on paedophile charges, died overnight, the Vatican announced Friday.

Wesolowski, 67, had suffered from health problems that last month caused postponement of his criminal trial, which was to be the first of its kind initiated by the Vatican against a church official.

Wesolowski had been charged with possessing child pornography in Rome in 2013-14, and the sexual abuse of minors during his 2008-13 stint as the Vatican nuncio, or ambassador, in the Dominican Republic.

He was secretly recalled from his posting in 2012 after the church hierarchy was informed that he had regularly paid young Dominican boys for sexual services.

Wesolowski was defrocked by a church court in June 2014. He was placed under house arrest in September 2014 following a decision to pursue criminal charges against him. Both moves were personally ordered by Pope Francis, according to Vatican officials.

The disgraced prelate fell ill on the eve of the opening of his July 11 trial.

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