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Poland's Archbishop Wesolowski trial starts

jon357 72 | 21,127
10 Jul 2015 #1
Archbishop Wesołowski's trial starts tomorrow:

The trial of the former nuncio Józef Wesołowski from Poland marks the first time that the church has used the criminal justice system put in place by the Argentinian pontiff to handle cases of alleged clerical wrongdoing.

Allegations that Wesołowski paid teenage boys for sexual acts while he was the Vatican's top diplomat in the Dominican Republic rocked the Holy See when the story broke two years ago. Wearing a baseball cap low over his head, he allegedly trawled the promenade in Santo Domingo for victims among the shoeshine boys


Although a certain proportion of such allegations have always been false, the increase in and media focus on allegations of historic child abuse in English-speaking countries (called the post-Savile spike) has led to a huge increase with (according to defence lawyers) a disproportionate number of false allegations, brought by attention-seekers, the mentally ill or malicious and people wanting compensation. This case is rather different though - it all started of because of concerns from his colleagues within the church.

The child pornography charges (which happened while he was in the Vatican) is a bit of a smoking gun. In the the UK, that crime is easier to commit than you think - anyone with a copy of The Sun from the 1980s in their attic or lining a drawer is guilty of possessing it if there's a 17 year old page 3 girl, and 'downloading' doesn't actually mean that - it can just be a thumbnail you didn't click on or even scroll down to. But not in The Vatican - there it does presumably mean he downloaded stuff.

Although there really is a vile witch hunt in some countries at the moment, with the worst kinds of opportunists fabricating stories, especially against celebrities, knowing they can get attention from it as well as compensation from the government even if no charges are brought. The 'victims' or 'survivors' lobby groups are rabid and aggressive, the internet is full of fantasy about famous people and some of the symptoms of the current Moral Panic (the so-called 'Holly's Army' and the false accusations of ritual abuse in Hampstead)) are bizarre. This case however doesn't seem to be like that.

We should not uncritically accept an allegation as true (though this now happens in some countries - in Britain and Australia the official government policy since 2013 is that all complainants "will be believed") nor should we convict without witnesses or forensic evidence (ditto). In this case, I only hope that justice is seen to be done, whether the allegations are true or false. If he's innocent, he should be cleared, and if he's guilty he should be punished. His job should not have a bearing on this.

Vatican officials should have raced to the Dominican Republic and publicly declared their concerns as soon as the rumours about Wesołowski emerged.
"It should have begged people who may have suffered to go to the police or prosecutors," he said. "In Poland, a similar public plea should have been made. Had that happened, Wesołowski would likely be in prison now and more of his victims would have broken their silence."

11 Jul 2015 #2
"He who's not guilty should throw the stone first."
OP jon357 72 | 21,127
11 Jul 2015 #3
The trial has to be completed before there's any talk of throwing stones, Nathan...

Plus, I rather doubt there's anyone here who is guilty of the crime he has been charged with.
Polsyr 6 | 769
11 Jul 2015 #4
I genuinely hope that a correct and just trial takes place to clear him if he's innocent or otherwise prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
11 Jul 2015 #5
Trial adjourned:
smurf 39 | 1,979
11 Jul 2015 #6
Trial adjourned:

What a surprise.
OP jon357 72 | 21,127
11 Jul 2015 #7
It might be genuine - he is quite old. The important thing is that justice is seen to be done - if he's innocent of all charges he should be freed. If he's guilty, he should be treated like anyone else who has committed those crimes.

I wonder what the evidential requirement is in the Vatican. Presumably there's concrete proof of the downloading child porn and that would be evidence of bad character in relation to the various other charges.

He died yesterday.

Probably of natural causes however there is expected to be a postmortem.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
29 Aug 2015 #8
Very "convenient" indeed! All paedophile priests and nazi war criminals always die before justice can deal with them. According to what I read, the guy was only 61 and not sick.
OP jon357 72 | 21,127
29 Aug 2015 #9
The Vatican have said that he was found by a priest at 5am, dead in front of a (switched on) TV.

We shouldn't read too much into that (conspiracy theories start easily in the Internet age) but instead wait until the postmortem.

It's possible now that nothing will come out about the offences he'd been charged with. He may have been guilty, he may have been innocent. We will probably never know for sure.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
29 Aug 2015 #10
I don't know of course but I would not be surprised that it was a suiccide. He could also have had a heart attack because of stress. Isn't it strange that so many paedophile priests and nazi war criminals die just before their trials???? I just observe.

The guy will never face trial so we'll never know and too bad for his victims, if any. If it (in Italy?) works the same way it does in French justice for which "suspect always benefits from ANY doubt" ("le doute profite toujours à l'accusé"), the guy will be considered not guilty.
Roger5 1 | 1,455
30 Aug 2015 #11
According to what I read, the guy was only 61 and not sick.

61 is plenty old enough for a myocardial infarction, especially in someone who is utterly ruined by allegations of paedophilia, and has nothing to look forward to but further humiliation. If all that didn't make him ill, he was superhuman.
OP jon357 72 | 21,127
30 Aug 2015 #12
67 even, and had taken ill a month ago.

If he was innocent, the stress of the accusations and facing a wrongful conviction would have been huge. And if he was guilty, I expect the stress of facing prison must have been huge. Plus all the changes in his life after being laicised.

I doubt he went to the gym much either.

They just buried him, in Poland too. He'll never now get the chance to prove his innocence nor be proven guilty. The quote below is nevertheless a smoking gun.

In the few minutes before trial was adjourned indefinitely due to that illness, the court clerk read the charges aloud. Among them was possession of what Vatican prosecutors described as an "enormous" quantity of child pornography on Wesolowski's computer.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
9 Sep 2015 #13
" "enormous" quantity of child pornography on his computer" .... Who would unless ... paedophiles? ;)
OP jon357 72 | 21,127
9 Sep 2015 #14
That's it exactly @InPolska - I'm very suspicious of any contested allegation without forensic evidence or witnesses; there are simply too many false allegations from fantasists, the mentally disturbed and/or chancers as they are seeing in the UK right now with the bizarre allegations against politicians, all coming by the way from the same source. So many are nothing more than false allegations and perhaps he should be given the benefit of the doubt, especially as he consistently denied the charges. But...

This however is a different matter since there seems to have been hard evidence on his computer of a related crime. 'Similar fact' evidence would be enough to guarantee a conviction in a lot of jurisdictions.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
9 Sep 2015 #15
@Jon: only a peadophile can have child porno on his computer ;). The guy is no longer so I'm not going to say bad things about him but seriously why child porno on his computer? ;)
OP jon357 72 | 21,127
9 Sep 2015 #16
@Jon: only a peadophile can have child porno on his computer

This is very true. Remember though that to be one of those is not illegal. the crime is actually doing it rather than being it. The downloaded images though would have corroborated any allegations (and there were many and over a long period, not just one isolated potential liar) in court.

The amount (enormous, according to the vatican) is significant. Probably half the posters here have something illegal under English law on their computer or in their home without even knowing it. The definition is very loose, however 'enormous' is hard to explain away.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
9 Sep 2015 #17
@Jon: why did he need child porno on his computer? "lol"
OP jon357 72 | 21,127
9 Sep 2015 #18
Exactly, and that's what a prosecutor would say. Remember though that feelings and deeds aren't the same thing. Paedophilia isn't in itself illegal and would be impossible to criminalise - there are individuals who say they are that way who have never committed a crime. . Acting on feelings like that and abusing children certainly is illegal.

The downloaded kiddy porn would count (assuming the law in that jurisdiction allows it) as 'similar fact' evidence and would increase the likelihood of a conviction for the things he was accused of.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
9 Sep 2015 #19
sure looking at child porno is not illegal but who does???? The "funny" thing is that it happens so (too) often among the Catholic Church which would like to teach "morals" to the rest of us.

Sorry, I prefer MY morals ;)
OP jon357 72 | 21,127
9 Sep 2015 #20
Same here. the very young are to be protected and that is one reason that such material is illegal, even if the law is belt and braces careful (in the UK you can't now possess an image of a person looking 'provocative' if they're a day short of their 18th birthday - a lot of old pop music posters and copies of The Sun newspaper are now technically child porn).

The issue in the RC church isn't just that it was happening, it is more that it was covered up - priests admitting guilt to Bishops who then protected them and moved them to other parishes where they re-offended. In some cases, the diocese lied about the priest's whereabouts and in many, many cases, clergy admitted what they'd done in confession and they just received absolution with nothing ever reported - while all the time some child was suffering.

With Wesolowski, we don't know whether he was raping 5 year olds or just groping 15 year olds (or neither) - and his death means we probably never will.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
9 Sep 2015 #21
@Jon: these people are obviously sick and I long as they will be covered by their hierarchy, I'll criticize them. How can a 61 or 67 or whatever-old-man be sexually "interested" in kids. It beats me but it seems "sort of ok" for the Church. The kids are destroyed both physically (I don't want to even imagine an adult penetrating a small kid's body) and psychologically and shall need a lot of time to recover (it the kid ever does some day).

As per my personal standards, paedophilia is a crime but is it a crime as per the RCC's standards? One may wonder since the RCC seem to put up with them.
OP jon357 72 | 21,127
9 Sep 2015 #22
@Jon: these people are obviously sick and I long as they will be covered by their hierarchy, I'll criticize them.

And rightly so.

a small kid's

In his case, I gather it was homeless teenage street prostitutes, not that he should be excused for that.

paedophilia is a crime but is it a crime as per the RCC's standards? One may wonder since the RCC seem to put up with them.

I think you mean actually doing it - yes that is a crime and important that it is in order to deter anyone who may be tempted that way - it certainly seems that a lot of clergy are. And yes, the RCC was criminally negligent in tolerating some of this crimes.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
9 Sep 2015 #23
@Jon: I would have tolerated if for instance he had had a ... 40-year old male lover (;)) although not as per the RCC's "moral standards" but if a paedophile, he was a criminal. I don't know whether the Church attracts such perverts or they become perverts while with the Church (like in the case of the egg or the hen coming first ;)) but nobody can deny that the Church counts so many perverts ;). I mean and I do stay away as much as possible from those nuts.... They are very dangerous.
OP jon357 72 | 21,127
9 Sep 2015 #24
Even a 21 year old would be ok, if a little unusual. I agree, it is shocking that this situation has arisen within the RCC, and I'm not sure what causes people to behave like that, especially clergy.

Wherever there's goodness, evil looks for a way in.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
9 Sep 2015 #25
with so many perverts in their ranks, they should keep a low profile and stop minding people's businesses ;).

PS: Has the Vatican given money to help the refugees?
Wulkan - | 3,243
9 Sep 2015 #26
PS: Has the Vatican given money to help the refugees?

They have given as much as Saudi Arabia for their muslim brothers.
Chamonix - | 12
9 Sep 2015 #27
He probably felt it was legal under Babylonian Talmudic law. Not many catholic priests seem to study the bible unfortunately.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
10 Sep 2015 #28
Wulkan: thanks to confirm that Vatican have given 0 euro to help refugees. Obviously Saudi Arabia and alike are disgusting. Has EU requested funds from rich Arabic states? ;).

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