Former Catholic archbishop found dead ahead of child sexual abuse trial

A former Catholic archbishop charged with sexually abusing children has died ahead of his trial.

Jozef Wesołowski, 67, was found dead in his room – seemingly from natural causes – in the Holy See on Friday morning, a statement from the Vatican said.

“Vatican authorities intervened immediately for first verifications, which indicate his death was due to natural causes,” the statement, posted on the Vatican press website, said.

The former ambassador to the Dominican Republic would have been the first church official to go on trial for child sexual abuse. His case, which had attracted a significant amount of international attention, was the first under a Vatican system reinvigorated by Pope Francis following widespread accusations of abuse within the Church.

The statement added that the Pope has been informed of Wesołowski’s death.

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