Vatican ex-diplomat on trial for ‘child sex abuse images’

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The Vatican Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Monsignor Capella is being held in the Vatican police barracks ahead of the trial

A senior Vatican official who served as a diplomat to the US will face charges of possessing images that show child sex abuse, the Holy See said.

Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella’s trial will begin on 22 June in the Vatican.

He was recalled in September 2017 after US authorities alerted the Vatican that one of its diplomats may have violated child pornography laws.

Monsignor Capella’s career took him to India and Hong Kong before his time in the US, which lasted less than a year.

He was arrested in April.

A state department official told the Washington Post that the US government had asked for Monsignor Capella’s diplomatic immunity be waived so he could be prosecuted in the US, but the Vatican refused.

After the monsignor was recalled from the US, police in Canada issued a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography online.

The Vatican’s statement on Saturday said the Holy See holds jurisdiction over the case even though the offences happened abroad, since Monsignor Capella was serving as a Vatican official.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Pope Francis has pledged zero tolerance to child abuse in the Church but critics say he has not done enough

This is the latest allegation of sexual abuse among the clergy to hit the Catholic Church.

All of Chile’s 34 bishops offered to resign in May following a child sex scandal and a cover up.

The same month, Australia convicted the archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson of concealing historic child sexual abuse in the 1970s.

In 2013, the Holy See recalled and defrocked their envoy to the Dominican Republic, Jozef Wesolowski, and ordered he be tried for child sex offences.

Wesolowski was found dead in 2015 before he could stand trial.

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