Two cases of child pornography possession in Vatican in 2014

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 31, 2015 8:33 AM

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican, which is still struggling with the effects of a worldwide pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church, discovered two cases of possession of child pornography within its own walls last year, its chief prosecutor said on Saturday.

Gian Piero Milano, whose official title is Promoter of Justice, reported the cases in a 50-page report read to Vatican officials at a ceremony marking the start of the city-state's judicial year.

The Catholic Church has been hit by scandal involving the sexual abuse of children by priests around the world in the past 15 years. Pope Francis has vowed zero tolerance for offenders but victims of abuse want him to do more and make bishops who allegedly covered up the abuse accountable.

In his report, Milano said Vatican police had investigated "two delicate cases, of varying degrees of seriousness, of possession of child pornography material" by people living or working inside the city-state, which is the headquarters of the 1.2 billion member Church.

The prosecutor gave no details but a Vatican spokesman said one of them involved Jozef Wesolowski, a former archbishop who was arrested last September in the Vatican on charges of having paid for sex with children while he was a papal ambassador in the Dominican Republic.

Francis approved the arrest - the first inside the Vatican related to allegations of sexual abuse - in order to send a strong signal that even high-ranking Church officials would be held accountable if they committed abuse, the Vatican said at the time.

Italian media reported at the time of his arrest that child pornography was found on his computer. He is currently under arrest in the Vatican awaiting trial.

The Vatican spokesman gave no details of the other case.

The prosecutor also mentioned investigations in 2014 related to embezzlement involving former bank managers of the Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR).

Milano also referred in his report to the case of a Polish monsignor who was convicted of embezzling funds from a Rome basilica where he worked as an accountant. There were three attempts in 2014 to deliver illegal drugs into the Vatican by mail from foreign countries, he said without giving details.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)