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Vatican Recalls Priest From D.C. Embassy, Launches Child Porn Investigation

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A local diplomat has been pulled from the United States after prosecutors say he’s the center of a child pornography investigation Friday morning.

The Vatican declined to identify the priest but say he’s not currently working in D.C. and that Vatican prosecutors have launched their own investigation.

U.S. officials say the high-ranking diplomat works at the Holy See Embassy in Washington but has been recalled after U.S. prosecutors asked for him to be charged and face trial.

According to the State Department, it asked the Vatican to waive immunity, but that request was denied.

“There’s still a group of men, at this level in the church, who do not see child protection as a priority,” said Mary Collins, who was sexually abused by priest as teen.

The investigation comes at a critical times for the Vatican and Pope Francis, who’s pledged zero tolerance for sexual abuse.

Just months ago, Collins resigned from a panel set up by Pope Francis to protect minors from abuse. She’s tired of what she called constant setbacks in their work.

“These men thrive on silence and cover up so I felt I could do more outside then inside,” she said.

Monsignor Anthony Figueriedo, a Vatican consultant for CBS News, vows allegations like this, are only taken seriously.

“It’s very, very serious, perhaps more than any other organization in the world. The Catholic church has taken this on board,” Figueriedo said.

Vatican criminal law states that possession of child porn could mean up two years in prison, producing child porn could mean penalties that are even more severe.

The Vatican said the case was subject to confidentiality while still under investigation.

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