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  Kramek Accepts Deal

By Julie A. Varughese
New Britain Herald
December 22, 2004

New Britain — The visiting Roman Catholic priest from Poland who sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in her grandmother's apartment pleaded guilty Tuesday in New Britain Superior Court.

Roman Kramek, 42, a former priest at Sacred Heart Church, 158 Broad St., will be sentenced Feb. 17 to nine months in prison and 10 years of probation. According to his attorney, William Dow, he will return to Poland after serving his sentence. He is required to register as a sex offender and provide a DNA sample to the state police upon his release from prison. A pre-sentencing investigation will be conducted during which the priest's background and his thoughts on the case and the impact on the victim's life will be reported and presented to Judge Susan Handy.

Kramek appeared in a suit and had his hands clasped behind his back for most of the hearing. When Judge Joan Alexander, who is filling in for presiding Judge Handy, accepted his plea, he put his hands to his face and covered his eyes and nose. Later, Dow would not comment on whether the defendant felt any remorse for the victim.

The victim, seated in the front row next to victim's advocate Kitt Tierney, appeared timid and was not seated facing front toward the defendant; rather, her body was turned toward Tierney and she was tearful.

Kramek pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault. The incident took place Dec. 18, 2002, in the home of the victim's grandmother. The victim, according to state's attorney Scott Murphy, was being counseled for a previously reported sexual assault, and was told by her counselor that it would be a good idea to receive "spiritual counseling" from Kramek.

Kramek was already seated on the living room coach when the victim arrived home from school that afternoon. While the grandmother was in the kitchen, Kramek asked her about her previous sexual assault, and touched her body while asking if the assailant had touched her in that way. When the grandmother came back from the kitchen, Kramek jumped off the victim's body and drank coffee. After the grandmother left the room again, Kramek took off his pants and her pants and raped her for approximately one minute, according to Murphy.

Murphy said Kramek told the victim that he had sex with her as a "counseling technique" to show her that "sex with a man can be pleasurable." According to the state, it is illegal for someone acting in the position of a psychotherapist, including a counseling priest, to engage in sex with a person seeking psychological counseling.

According to Murphy, Kramek told New Britain police that the victim seemed indifferent to having sex with him and that she did not initiate it.

Police tested dry saliva found on the victim's breast, which linked Kramek to the victim.

Kramek was arrested Dec. 24, 2002, by warrant, the day before he was set to leave for Poland after serving as a visiting priest at Sacred Heart Church. A woman who answered the phone at Sacred Heart rectory said Kramek is no longer affiliated with the parish and they are not aware of his current residence.

When Kramek was asked if he would like to plead guilty to the charge of second-degree sexual assault, he hesitated for a while and did not seem to understand the question. He repeatedly said "yes" instead of "guilty," but with the aid of a Polish interpreter he pleaded guilty.

Dow, who has been representing Kramek since January 2003, said his client is "looking forward to putting this behind him and returning to Poland."

The judge told Kramek that he will be denied the right to stay in the United States since he is a noncitizen convicted of a felony.

Twenty supporters from the Polish community sat in Courtroom 1A during the hearing. Some members of the Polish community had spearheaded a fund to raise money to bail the priest out of jail; his bond was $500,000.

Kramek would have faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines if convicted by a jury.

Although according to the state the victim is satisfied with the sentence, a supporter of the victim was unhappy with the terms and thought Kramek deserved more time in jail.

 
 

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