September 19, 2017

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Vatican Recalls Priest From D.C. Diplomatic Mission, Launches Child Porn Probe

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The Vatican’s diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C. Cliff Owen/AP hide caption

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The Vatican says it has recalled a priest from its diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C., and launched an investigation into allegations of child pornography.

The priest, who has not been named, is currently in Vatican City, according to a statement from the Vatican. It says the U.S. State Department informed Vatican officials on August 21 “of a possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images by a member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See accredited to Washington.”

The Holy See is party to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity, which grants immunity from prosecution to diplomats in foreign countries. A State Department spokesperson tells NPR that the U.S. formally requested that the Vatican’s diplomatic mission waive that immunity, which it denied.

The Vatican says it has now launched its own investigation into the issue, and has “already commenced international collaboration to obtain elements relative to the case.” It emphasizes that the content of the probe is “subject to investigative confidentiality.”

Pope Francis has said he has a policy of “zero tolerance”

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