Abuse Victim Sues Diocese

Help or Hindrance?

Shining Light or Black Hole?

In Koszalin, a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest is suing for damages; however, the victim is not only suing the convicted offender but also his former parish and diocese. It is the first such trial in Poland. Marcin is being represented pro bono by lawyers hired by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. He is demanding that the defendants pay PLN 200,000 in compensation and publish a public apology in three of Poland’s major newspapers. Attorneys representing the diocese dispute the legitimacy of the civil action in its entirety, while the attorney of Zbigniew R., the accused, argues that the compensation should not exceed PLN 2,000 as this is all his client can afford. The former priest is currently serving a 2-year prison sentence for molesting Marcin and another boy; both crimes were committed between 1999 and 2001. In 2008, the priest was suspended on the unrelated suspicion of breaking his vows of celibacy, and only this year was he defrocked by Pope Francis. During the ongoing trial, a journalist testified that he had informed a high-ranking diocese official of Zbigniew R. molesting one of the boys and that the information was supposedly conveyed to the then bishop of the diocese.

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