Vat­i­can’s US diplo­mat re­called:

Europe

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Benedik­ts­son

A high-rank­ing priest work­ing in the Vat­i­can’s em­bassy in Washington has been re­called af­ter US prose­cu­tors asked for him to be charged there and face trial in a child pornog­ra­phy in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Vat­i­can and US of­fi­cials said Fri­day.

The diplo­mat was sus­pected of pos­sess­ing, but not pro­duc­ing or dis­sem­i­nat­ing, child pornog­ra­phy in­clud­ing images of pre-pubescent chil­dren, a US source fa­mil­iar with the case said. The source was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the mat­ter pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The Vat­i­can de­clined to iden­tify the priest, but said he was cur­rently in Vat­i­can City and that Vat­i­can prose­cu­tors had launched their own probe and sought ev­i­dence from the US.

If the ac­cu­sa­tions pan out, the case would be a ma­jor em­bar­rass­ment for the Vat­i­can and Pope Fran­cis, who has pledged “zero tol­er­ance” for sex­ual abuse. The diplo­mat would be the sec­ond from the Vat­i­can’s diplo­matic corps to face pos­si­ble crim­i­nal charges for such crimes dur­ing Fran­cis’ pa­pacy. And any trial in the Vat­i­can would come as Fran­cis’ own fi­nan­cial czar, Car­di­nal Ge­orge Pell, is on trial in his na­tive Aus­tralia for al­leged his­toric sex abuse cases. (AP)

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