A Polish man has become the first person to challenge the country's powerful Catholic Church over its refusal to compensate children and minors found to have been abused by members of the clergy.
25-year-old, identified only as Marcin K, filed a civil claim, with help
from the Helsinki Foundation advocacy and human rights group, for
$64,500 in compensation.
The Warsaw Voice said the case was
"unprecedented," as a civil suit has never before been filed against the
church in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.
Foundation representative Adam Bondar confirmed to reporters in Warsaw
it is the first civil lawsuit against the Polish Catholic church.
there has never been a case in which a victim sues not just the
perpetrator but also the church as an institution," Bondar told Polish
media, adding that more than a dozen priests have been convicted of
pedophilia in Poland.
The priest convicted of abusing Marin K when
he was a child was sentenced in 2012 but his diocese refused to accept
More than 33 million of Poland's 38.5 people
say they are Roman Catholic.
Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Archbishop of
Warsaw, presides over 44 dioceses comprising about 10,000 parishes and
The Polish Roman Catholic population increased
after the decimation of Jewish Poles during the Holocaust and loss of
territory with other religious minorities during and after World War II.
The Polish Roman Catholic Church
began coming under spotlight in recent years as reporting of child
abuse in churches across Europe gained momentum.
In Poland, influential
church lobbies managed to bury incidents cited in news media, and church
leaders refused to apologize or agree to compensation.
K's lawsuit requires Polish Roman Catholic Church leaders to print an
apology in the national media as well as settle the compensation claim.
Polish Papal Nuncio to the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Jozef
Wesolowski, 65, faced charges last year of molesting boys and was
recalled to Rome.
The United Nations this week joined its voice to calls for tougher action against child abusers among Catholic clergy.
U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, in a report this past week,
denounced the Vatican for adopting policies allowing priests to sexually
abuse thousands of children. It said the Vatican should "immediately
remove" all clergy who were known or suspected child abusers.
Former Pope Benedict is reported to have defrocked at least 400 priests found to have been involved with child abuse.
Child abuse isn't limited to a religious denomination and is reported to be rampant among Afghanistan's Taliban, independent data show.
National Directorate of Security published documents, including witness
accounts, that show military mullahs of the Taliban who trained boys to
become fighters sexually abused them during the training.
other boys not recruited for paramilitary missions were molested by
senior cadres in the Taliban leadership, Afghanistan's National
Directorate of Security says.
The NDS reports were verified by independent researchers, including non-governmental organizations.