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Jozef Wesolowski, the 66-year-old former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic was a familiar figure to the shoe-shine boys in Santo Domingo, according to countless criminal complaints that led to the warrant for his arrest for child sex abuse last year. The high-ranking prelate was said to stroll the areas where the boys worked for a few pesos, effectively shopping for innocent victims to perform sex acts including masturbation and fellatio on him. He did not look the part of a prominent archbishop. Instead, he traveled incognito in track pants and a baseball cap to hide his identity, according to a New York Times exposé. 

Wesolowski was also a familiar figure at the Vatican in Rome. Not only was he known as one of the blessed Polish priests who Pope John Paul II ordained before he became pope. He was also a fugitive from secular law, having been swiftly rescued from criminal prosecution in Poland and Santo Domingo in 2013 to face a private canonical trial by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which ultimately ended with his defrocking. 

The newly defrocked archbishop was allowed to stay in the confines of Vatican City (but was frequently spotted walking in Rome) while he appealed that decision, which was upheld this week when the Vatican’s promoter of justice indicted him on charges of child sex abuse.  It is the first time a prelate has ever been known to be arrested inside Vatican City. Wesolowski is confined to house arrest in the walled city, awaiting trial in front of the Vatican tribunal.  He will not be held in the Vatican’s jail like Pope Benedict’s butler Paolo Gabriele, who wasconvicted of stealing the pope’s private papers and leaking them to a journalist in 2012 for stealing papal documents.  “The seriousness of the allegations has prompted the official investigation to impose a restrictive measure that, in light of the accused’s health condition, as evidenced by medical documentation, consists of house arrest, with its related limitations, in a location within the Vatican City State,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement Tuesday night.  “The initiative taken by the judicial departments of Vatican City State is a result of the express desire of the Pope, so that a case so serious and delicate would be addressed without delay, with just and necessary rigor, and with full assumption of responsibility on the part of the institutions that are governed by the Holy See.”

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