While awaiting trial on charges of pedophilia and possession of child pornography, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic, Józef Wesołowski, died.
A statement released by the Holy See Press Office shared the news, stating that initial investigations done by Vatican authorities “indicate that he died of natural causes” in the Vatican in the early hours of this morning. The Promoter of Justice, it noted, has ordered an autopsy, which will be performed today and the results will be communicated as soon as possible.
The Holy Father, the communique also confirmed, has been informed of the death.
Wesolowski was set to begin trial in the Vatican on July 11 but had to be hospitalized in intensive care, resulting in the suspension of his trial.
He was treated due to “a serious drop in blood pressure, due to the heat and tension, as well as his age.”
Wesolowski was facing three criminal charges. The former archbishop had been accused of: acquisition via the Internet of child pornography, representing minors under 18, in more or less explicit obscene poses; sexual abuse of boys between the ages of 13 and 16, in one case perpetrated in complicity with one of his collaborators, the former deacon Francisco Javier Occi Reyes; receiving stolen goods, for having acquired, received and hidden the pornographic material in question; grave psychological damages of the adolescent victims of the abuses; offense to religion and to Christian morality, for having accessed child pornography websites also during his stay in Rome.
Wesolowski was laicised in June of 2014 after the first trial. He had been recalled from from diplomatic service in August 2013, after Pope Francis was informed of rumors that the nuncio had sexually abused teenage boys in the Dominican Republic.