Vatican insists it's not shielding ambassador to the Dominican Republic accused of sex abuse

The Vatican says it's cooperating with prosecutors in the Dominican Republic who are investigating its ambassador for alleged sexual abuse of minors.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, denied the Vatican was trying to shield Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski by recalling him to Rome and relieving him of his job.

Wesolowski was recalled Aug. 21 after the archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, told Pope Francis about the allegations. Prosecutors earlier this month announced they had opened an investigation as well.

In a statement Thursday to the ANSA news agency, Lombardi said: "The recall of the ambassador is by no means an effort to avoid taking responsibility for what might be verified."

Dominican prosecutors have said they would seek Wesolowski's extradition if the evidence warrants it.