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VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican's former ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been convicted by a church tribunal of sex abuse and has been defrocked, the first such sentence handed down against a top papal representative.

The Vatican said Friday that Monsignor Jozef Wesolowski was found guilty by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and sentenced to the harshest penalty possible against a cleric: laicization, meaning he can no longer perform priestly duties or present himself as a priest.

Wesolowski can appeal. He also faces other charges by the criminal tribunal of Vatican City, since as a papal diplomat he is considered a citizen of the tiny city state.

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