The Alleged Cover Up by the Vatican of its Clerics’ Child Sexual Abuse Cases


Back in 2015, one of the Vatican officials named Gian Piero Milano released 50-page report showing child pornography materials in the Vatican City. Although the official didn’t name the priests who own the child porn videos and images, one person named Federico Lombardi, then the spokesperson of the Holy See Press Office, named Josef Wesolowski as one of the accused. According to the report, not only Wesolowski possessed more than 100,000 child porn materials which some depicts children being forced to perform sexual acts to their fellow children and even to adults, but he also molested several children himself in the Dominican Republic and in Poland. However, after the crimes were confirmed, Wesolowski was still protected by the Vatican and was only subjected to the house arrest in that Catholic city-state.

According to the report, the materials found in Wesoloski’s computer shows more than 160 videos of young teenage males forced to do masturbation and perform sex for the camera. In addition, those boys were also said to have been raped by adults in the videos. There have been at least 86,000 images found in his computer placed in a folder, not to mention the thousands that have been already deleted. According also to the report, Wesolowski brings these child porn materials wherever he travels. Wesolowski was expelled by the church court, but he died without serving terms in Prison. 

https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/599049187906241395/

Meanwhile in 2018, a priest named Carlo Alberto Capella pleaded guilty at a Vatican court to a crime of possessing child pornography materials on his mobile phone. Capella was a former Holy See diplomat who was sentenced to five years in prison after admitting to viewed child porn videos and images while he was still working at the Vatican embassy in Washington. Aside from five years of imprisonment, Capella was also sentenced to pay a fine of 5,000 euros. Among the materials found on his cellphone were obscene photos of young children and numerous Japanese porn films which he viewed even after he had been recalled by the Vatican August of 2017. 

Prosecutors reported that the porn materials include children as young as 14 to 17 years old performing sexual acts. However, Carlo Capella’s lawyer doubted that his client had distributed the child porn materials while denying the reported amount of the materials found in Capella’s cellphone. Later, Canadian authorities issued an arrest for the suspect and charged him of “having accessed, possessed and distributed child porn over Christmas 2016 from a church in Windsor, Ontario, using a social networking site”. Carlo Capella was a high-ranking official in the Vatican who served in a secretariat of the city-state. It was reported that the then 51-year old priest was sentenced for 5 years imprisonment. 

In relation to the issues, according to Bishop Accountability, a group that tracks clergy sexual abuse cases, the Vatican has done little to address the clerical sexual abuse problem. It was the same group that reported 4,500 victims of clerical sexual abuse in France and some thousands in Spain too with the help of various media investigations. However, last January, the group clamored in dismay that though bishops agreed to compensate victims in France, high ranking cleric named Cardinal Philippe Barbarin “had a conviction for covering up the sexual abuse of children overturned”. It was also said that in Spain and Italy, the possibility that bishops can refuse to testify in court is still high.

References: 

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/world/328518/poland-s-catholic-church-apologizes-as-pedophile-scandal-spreads/story/

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/29/world/europe/jozef-wesolowski-polish-ex-archbishop-accused-of-child-sexual-abuse-is-found-dead.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44590887

https://www.dw.com/en/vatican-court-jails-ex-diplomat-italian-priest-carlo-alberto-capella-for-child-porn/a-44363550

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/17/little-progress-since-vaticans-sexual-abuse-summit-say-activists

Featured image: https://www.soulask.com/inside-the-popes-reptilian-audience-hall-in-vatican-city/


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Alter Picar

Alter Picar is a writer, translator, self-published author, songwriter / musician, community worker, non-profit organization manager (volunteer), mental health advocate / educator, librarian, and organic gardener.
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