Jozef Wesolowski dies prior to Vatican trial at 67

Vatican official says Jozef Wesolowski, the highest-ranking Catholic official to be put on trial for paedophilia, died in his room

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Mr. Wesolowski, the former archbishop and papal envoy to the Dominican Republic, was found dead on Friday.

Jozef Wesolowski, 67, the Vatican's former ambassador to the Dominican Republic and the highest-ranking Catholic church official to ever be charged with child abuse and pedophilia was found dead in his room in the Vatican city on Friday ahead of his trial.

"Vatican authorities quickly carried out the first investigation and have established that the death was caused by natural causes," a statement from the Vatican said.

Last month, Wesolowski was to be put on trial. However due to his ailing health, his trial was delayed. He was the he first senior church official tried over paedophilia charges.

Wesolowski was also charged with child abuse and possession of child pornography in the Dominican Republican between 2008-2013.

“An internal church report linked him to child abuse and pedophilia," said Monsignor Agripino Nunez Collado, a Catholic University rector.

Furthermore, the Dominican Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito, said that Wesolowski's case had various ramifications.

"Here we have to work with two legal aspects, first national laws and also international laws in his status as a diplomat, which implies other mechanisms of investigation and judgment," he said.

An autopsy will be conducted along with an announcement with the results.

"The Pope was dutifully informed of all," the statement from the Vatican said.

TRTWorld and agencies