Dominican Republic seeks priest in sex abuse case
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — The Dominican Republic’s attorney general asked for Interpol’s help Thursday in detaining a Polish priest who has been accused of sexual abuse involving three children in this largely Roman Catholic country.
The Rev. Wojciech Gil was in Poland on vacation when the allegations surfaced in late May and has not returned to the Dominican Republic, where he led a parish in the mountain town of Juncalito for eight years. He has denied wrongdoing in phone calls to Dominican reporters.
In a statement, Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito said he hoped for the collaboration of Interpol and other international organizations in detaining Gil so he “can be judged in the Dominican Republic.”
The father of one of the alleged victims has charged that his son was molested by the priest for about three years. A complaint against the 36-year-old priest also alleges he promised two other children that he would take them to the beach and to Europe if they dressed in thong underwear and appeared in videos and photos.
Gil took Dominican altar boys on vacation to Poland several times and lodged them at his mother’s house and at the local parish house, Polish media have reported.
Dominican authorities are also investigating the former Vatican ambassador to the Caribbean country, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, over allegations of sexual abuse of teenage boys. His whereabouts are unknown since the Vatican removed him as apostolic nuncio Aug. 21 after the allegations against him came to light.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, has denied the Vatican was trying to shield Wesolowski by recalling him to Rome before Dominican prosecutors announced their investigation. The Vatican says it is cooperating with Dominican investigators.
Church officials have declined to comment on Wesolowski’s whereabouts and his reaction to the accusations. He is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be investigated for alleged sexual abuse.
Dominican prosecutor Bolivar Sanches has said he has interviewed seven boys between 13 and 18 years old as part of the investigation of Wesolowski. He said three of them work on the streets of the capital, Santo Domingo.