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The Vatican on Saturday arrested a diplomat recalled from Washington past year amid investigations in Canada, the United States and the Vatican for possession of child pornography.

Monsignor Carlo Capella is being held in the Gendarmerie barracks in the Vatican; his arrest follows a Vatican investigation, according to the Associated Press.

The US State Department notified the Vatican in August through diplomatic channels of a possible violation of child pornography laws by a member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See in Washington, the Vatican said in September.

Police in Canada issued a nationwide arrest warrant for Mgr Capella later that same month on charges of accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography.

Capella was charged with articles of the Vatican penal code punishing the possession and dissemination of child pornography.

Saturday's announcement was the first Vatican statement on the subject since September.

"The Holy See, following the practice of sovereign states, recalled the priest in question, who is now in Vatican City", and opened the investigation, the Vatican press office had said in September.

Police in Windsor, Ontario, said Capella allegedly uploaded child porn to a social networking site while visiting a place of worship from over the 2016 Christmas holiday.

A Niagara Falls parolee, who was convicted of reckless manslaughter in 2011 for the death of his 22-month-old daughter, has been charged with receiving and possessing child pornography.

The pope's defense of Bishop Juan Barros led to protests, after which Francis apologized and asked the Vatican's top investigator on sexual abuse, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, to look into the case.

Monsignor Capella entered the diplomatic corps in 2004, and before serving in Washington, he held diplomatic posts in Hong Kong and Italy.

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