Victims group in Poland maps 255 sex abuse cases by priests

2018-10-08 16:18

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A private foundation published a map Sunday showing where Catholic priests in Poland have been accused of child sexual abuse, adding pressure on the church in the predominantly Catholic country to respond.

The Have No Fear foundation, which represents abuse survivors, said the map of cases it compiled represented 255 children under age 15 who were abused by priests across Poland. The cases were drawn from court records, media reports and survivor accounts gathered by the foundation, the organisation said.

More than 50 priests have been convicted of abusing children, according to the foundation. Some of them served time in prison and were reassigned to new parishes when they got out, it said.

Clergy abuse, both alleged and substantiated in court, has put church leaders in Poland under growing pressure to confront the problem. Poland's bishops' conference has said it is working on a report on the scale of pedophilia in the church, due to be published by the end of November.

The map will be updated as more cases are reported and taken to court, Polish lawmaker Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, said. She is working to bring attention to the clergy abuse issue to colleagues in parliament, which is dominated by the conservative ruling party.

The bishop of the Opole diocese in southwest Poland, Andrzej Czaja, apologised for any sexual abuse by churchmen on Sunday and requested forgiveness "for our heavy sins" from Catholic faithful.

During Sunday services, priests read a letter in which Czaja reported that six priests in his diocese were convicted recently of abusing children.

"We are full of pain, shame and feeling hopeless," Czaja said in the letter.

The bishop in Warsaw made a similar apology last week. The Have No Fear foundation held a march in Poland's capital and some other cities on Sunday to demand the church stop protecting paedophile priests.

A few hundred people marched with banners that read "It's a Crime to Cover Up Pedophilia, Bishop".

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    poland  |  sexual abuse

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.