(Reuters) – Polish prosecutors have charged a Catholic priest with four counts of sex abuse against children in his native Poland and in the Dominican Republic, where he was working in a rural parish, the prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.
The priest worked in the Dominican Republic until May last year. He left the parish and was suspended by his religious order after local residents accused him of molesting altar boys, church officials said. He is now in detention in Poland.
“Two of the charges concern acts that took place in the Dominican Republic, to the harm of citizens of the Dominican Republic, and two concern acts that took place in Poland and concern Polish citizens,” the prosecutor’s spokesman, Przemyslaw Nowak, told a news conference.
Another Polish cleric working in the Dominican Republic, Vatican nuncio (ambassador) Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, was recalled last September by the Vatican and is being investigated there on child sexual abuse charges.
His whereabouts are not known.
Prosecutors say the priest who has been charged denies the accusations. If convicted, he could face 12 years in prison.
Under Polish law he cannot be identified by his full name now that he has been charged, so prosecutors are naming him as Wojciech G.
Prosecutors said they would be filing an application with a court to detain Wojciech G. for three months while they pursue their investigation.
(Reporting By Karolina Slowikowska; Editing by Tom Heneghan)