Archbishop accused of child sex abuse died of ‘heart event’

Former papal nuncio Josef Wesolowski was found dead in the Vatican earlier this week

File photograph of former papal nuncio Josef Wesolowski. File photograph: Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images

File photograph of former papal nuncio Josef Wesolowski. File photograph: Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images

 

The Holy See today stated that the autopsy on the former papal nuncio Josef Wesolowski, who died on Thursday night in the Vatican, has concluded that he died as a result of a “heart event”.

In its statement, the Holy See said that the autopsy was carried out by a “commission of three experts”, led by professor of forensic medicine Giovanni Arcudi of Rome’s Tor Vergata University, adding:

“The autopsy took place [Friday] afternoon and, from initial examination of the corpse, it was determined the natural cause of death was attributed to a heart event.”

The statement said that, in the coming days, “the [chief prosecutor] will receive further results of the usual laboratory tests . . . ”

Archbishop Wesolowski (67), formerly papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic, was about to stand trial in a Vatican City court, accused of a wide variety of criminal offences relating to paedophilia.

His sudden death has prompted intense specultation.

He would have been the first Holy See official to have been tried for child sex crimes in a Vatican City state court.

Canon law court

Last year, Archbishop Wesolowski came before a canon law court in the Vatican, where he was found quilty of child sex abuse crimes and was consequently “reduced to the lay status”.

Had he been found guilty by the Vatican City court, he could have faced a six- to seven-year prison sentence.

When his case first came before the Vatican City courts early last month, it was immediately adjourned after Archbishop Wesolowski became ill on the eve of the trial’s opening session.

At the time, Vatican sources reported that Archbishop Wesolowski had an ongoing heart condition.