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 damage caused by the priest’s sexual molestation.
“This trial 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. The priest is currently serving a two-year prison term.
In October 2013 a conciliatory hearing took place before a 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 the 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.