Notes from Poland
February 16, 2021
The Catholic church in Poland has been accused of failing to take decisive action against an accused paedophile priest for 25 years after first being made aware of the allegations.
The claims, broadcast in a new television report on Monday, are the latest revelations regarding the church’s alleged failure to properly investigate child sex abuse by clergy. In some instances, the institution has been accused of deliberately covering cases up and protecting perpetrators.
The priest at the centre of the latest case, Andrzej Dymer, was last week dismissed by the church from his role as director of a church medical institute. This morning, it was announced that he had died, after suffering from a longstanding illness.
Yesterday, private broadcaster TVN aired a report entitled “The Church’s Longest Proceedings”. It traced how the Catholic hierarchy had known about allegations against Dymer since the mid-1990s but failed to take conclusive action against him.
“This is one of those stories that very well shows the problem of the church,” Paweł Gużyński, a Dominican priest, told the TV station. He explained that often priests cannot speak up against superiors, with “every voice of criticism interpreted as an attack on the church”.
The report outlined how Dymer had become a respected figure in local church circles and was the founder of a Catholic secondary school in the city of Szczecin, as well as director of a retirement home.
However, claims that Dymer was sexually abusing minors had been known to bishops in Szczecin as early as 1995. A number of Dymer’s alleged victims spoke to TVN, telling of the abuse they had faced, including one who said the priest had forced him to engage in oral sex.
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