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Victim of priest’s child abuse sues for personal interest violation

Marcin K. has filed a lawsuit against Zbigniew R., the Kołobrzeg-Koszalin Diocese and St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Parish. The claimant requests an apology in the national edition of the Gazeta Wyborcza daily newspaper and Newsweek magazine and PLN 200,000 as compensation for moral damages caused by a priest’s sex abuse.

“This case is undoubtedly of a precedent nature. A majority of victims of paedophilia within the Church are usually unable to receive final sentences or are unable to seek justice due to expiration of time-limits for prosecution”, says Dr Adam Bodnar, Deputy President of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. “The Foundation decided to become involved in the case because we concluded that the area is susceptible to serious human rights violations”, adds Dr Bodnar.

For several months Marcin K., then aged 12, was molested by the parish priest Zbigniew R. who was convicted in December 2012 with a final court judgment. R. is currently serving a two-year prison term.

In October 2013 a conciliatory hearing took place before the District Court in Koszalin. During the conciliatory hearing, the attorney for the St. Adalbert Parish and the Kołobrzeg-Koszalin Diocese argued that there were no grounds to hold Church authorities responsible for the acts committed by the former parish priest. Counsel for Zbigniew R. said, on his part, that a settlement would be unreasonable at the current stage of the proceedings.

Mr Wojciech Dobkowski has agreed to represent Marcin K. pro bono as a courtesy to the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. The HFHR observes the case.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has issued landmark recommendations addressed to the Holy See. One of the conclusions of the report is that the Vatican is responsible for the Catholic Church across the world.

“In light of the Committee’s recommendations it can be stated that the Church has a serious problem with respecting children’s rights”, says Elżbieta Czyż, expert of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

The Vatican has been called to thoroughly investigate cases of paedophilia and crimes committed by Catholic priests. In the Committee’s opinion the Vatican should develop a system of accountability and pay proper compensations for the crimes already committed.


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