Dominican cardinal says Vatican to investigate ex-envoy amid sex abuse claims

The Dominican Republic's Catholic archbishop has confirmed that the Vatican will investigate the country's recently removed papal envoy over allegations of child sex abuse.

Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez told reporters late Tuesday that Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski will be investigated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office that deals with abuse allegations.

It is believed to be the first known sex abuse investigation against a high-ranking Vatican official in recent times, though former Vatican officials have also been accused after they left Rome.

Lopez's comments come shortly after Dominican prosecutor Bolivar Sanchez said he has interviewed seven teenagers as part of the investigation. He declined further comment except to qualify their allegations as coherent and painful.

Wesolowski was removed in late August. His whereabouts are unclear.