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Archive for Dominican Republic

Newsline: Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic could be tried

The Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, who has been accused of paying underage boys there to engage in sexual acts, has lost his diplomatic immunity and could ultimately face prosecution in criminal courts outside of the Vatican, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church announced. The former ambassador, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, has already been defrocked by the Vatican, the harshest penalty under the church’s canon law short of excommunication. Beyond that, the Vatican has also said that it intends to try Mr. Wesolowski on criminal charges — the first time it will hold a criminal trial for sexual abuse.



Newsline: Vatican Defrocks Ambassador in Abuse Inquiry

The Vatican has defrocked its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, an archbishop from Poland who was accused of sexually abusing boys while he served as the pope’s representative in the Caribbean nation. The former archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, 65, is the first papal nuncio known to have been removed from the priesthood because of accusations of child sexual abuse. The Vatican announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles abuse cases, had recently completed his canonical trial. He has two months to appeal the decision. He still faces a criminal trial by the Vatican because, as a diplomat, he is a citizen of the Vatican city-state. It would be the first such trial held under new rules for criminal procedures implemented by the Vatican last year and a test of Pope Francis’ resolve to turn a page on the long-running sexual abuse scandal.


Newsline: Gay US envoys unpack in Australia, Dominican Republic

Two homosexual U.S. ambassadors and their partners have settled into their posts in Australia and the Dominican Republic – both nations that ban gay marriages. John Berry, who recruited gay supporters for President Obama last year, made his debut in a television interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corp., where he displayed his diplomatic talent by declining to discuss Australia’s laws on same-sex marriage. “I believe gay marriage is a sensitive topic, and it’s one that Australians need to decide for Australia,” he said. Mr. Berry married his partner of 17 years, Curtis Yee, in August, shortly after the Senate confirmed his nomination. In the Dominican Republic, Ambassador James “Wally” Brewster and Bob Satawake announced their arrival in the Caribbean nation on a video posted on the U.S. Embassy’s website.



Newsline: Vatican recalls ambassador in Dominican Republic amid accusations of child abuse

The Vatican has recalled its ambassador to the Dominican Republic after he was accused of sexually abusing children. Two local TV channels broadcast allegations of paedophilia against Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, who had been nuncio, or ambassador, in the capital, Santo Domingo, for nearly six years. A spokesman for the Catholic church in the Dominican Republic, Monsignor Agripino Nunez Collado, said that “The law is for everyone” and there was no excuse for anyone who violated the law, “not citizenship, not faith, not creed, not politics, not religion”, saying again “The law is for all.” Wesolowski will be investigated over the charges of paedophilia by the Holy See as well as by prosecutors in the Dominican Republic. Pope Francis has previously said that he wants to root out the sexual abuse of children by priests and ensure that abusers are punished.



Newsline: Dominican Republic sees gay US diplomat an ‘insult’

Church leaders in culturally conservative Dominican Republic are outraged that President Obama nominated an openly homosexual activist to serve as ambassador to the Caribbean nation. Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, the Roman Catholic archbishop of the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo, Bishop Pablo Cedano and the Rev. Cristobal Cardozo, leader of the Dominican Evangelical Fraternity, are urging President Danilo Medino to reject the nominee, Chicago lawyer James Brewster. “It’s an insult to good Dominican customs,” Father Cardozo said last week. Mr. Brewster, co-chairman for gay issues at the Democratic National Committee and a major fundraiser for Mr. Obama, is one of five homosexuals Mr. Obama nominated to serve as ambassadors in June, designated as “Gay Pride Month.” He named State Department official Daniel Baer to serve as ambassador to the 57-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, former Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry as ambassador to Australia, HBO executive James Costos as envoy to Spain and Rufus Gifford as ambassador to Denmark.



Newsline: US Embassy wants to meet with top Dominican general

The U.S. Embassy asked to meet with Armed Forces minister Sigfrido Pared to discuss, among other issues, the latter’s request for information on Dominican military involved in criminal activities, such as corruption and drug trafficking. The announcement is the Embassy’s response to Pared’s request for information on any member of the military allegedly linked to crimes and corruption. “The Dominican Republic is an important partner in the fight against drug trafficking in the Caribbean, and the United States maintains a strong relationship and cooperation with our partners in the Dominican government. We will continue to coordinate closely with the Government and the Minister of the Armed Forces, and we have requested a meeting directly with the minister to discuss this and other issues in the coming days,” the Embassy said. Pared said the U.S. and Spanish embassies had never submitted to the Armed Forces a list of corrupt military or involved in drug trafficking.



Newsline: In protest, man chains himself to U.S. Embassy in Dominican Republic

A man behind a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic chained himself to the building’s fence in protest, claiming that a botched DNA test led officials to wrongly deny his daughter American citizenship while also ruining his marriage. Miguel Familia, a naturalized U.S. citizen from the Dominican Republic, alleged that a DNA test ordered by the embassy to prove the girl was his daughter came back negative and she was denied residency in 2005. After he received the test results, Familia divorced his wife and accused her of having an extramarital affair, according to his lawyer, Carlos de la Rosa. But for years his ex-wife continued to insist the girl was his daughter. That led Familia to seek two separate paternity tests on his own earlier this year and both tested positive, de la Rosa said. By protesting outside the embassy, Familia was attempting to draw attention to his legal case and the mistake that he blames for tearing his family apart. He filed a complaint in the Dominican Republic in July against the embassy and a U.S.-based laboratory, seeking $180 million in damages. “They destroyed my family and I lost seven years with her,” he said of his daughter, Ashley. A U.S. Embassy spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit. Officials at the DNA testing laboratory, Clinical Test & Research in Ridgewood, New Jersey, could not be immediately reached for comment. According the U.S. State Department website, DNA tests can be required for parents who are U.S. citizens seeking citizenship for their child where it is not clear a birth certificate is adequate proof showing a biological relationship.