Priest Held in Sex Assault
Polish Visitor Says He Was Giving Girl Rape 'Counseling'

By Ken Byron and Bill Leukhardt
Hartford Courant [Connecticut]
December 27, 2002

A visiting Polish priest told police the sex he had last week with a teenage rape victim in her family's apartment was a form of "counseling," intended to show the high school girl that sex with men doesn't have to be bad.

On Thursday, the Rev. Roman Kramek, 40, was in New Britain Superior Court in leg shackles, charged with second-degree sexual assault of the 17-year-old and ordered held with bail set at $500,000.

Kramek, serving at the city's Sacred Heart Church for a month while on leave from his home parish in Elblag, Poland, surrendered quietly Christmas Eve to police in the church's Broad Street parking lot.

Kramek admitted to the charge, New Britain State's Attorney Scott J. Murphy said after Kramek's court appearance.

"I don't need such a priest," the Rev. Paul Wysocki of Sacred Heart Church said after Kramek, a priest for 12 years, was arraigned.

Wysocki said he told church officials in Poland of Kramek's arrest and was re-examining a long-standing policy of having Polish priests come to Sacred Heart to assist during the busy Christmas season.

Several parishioners who asked not to be identified were shocked and sickened to learn of the felony sex assault charge against the visiting priest who helps celebrate the parish's Polish-language Mass on Sundays.

Kramek was ordered to surrender his passport and not leave the country if he makes bond before his next court date Jan. 30. Kramek was scheduled to return to his parish in northern Poland early next month.

According to the arrest warrant, the police investigation started because the girl told a New Britain High School social worker on Dec. 19 about the incident. The social worker called police.

The girl said Kramek fondled and kissed her and then had intercourse with her Dec. 18 in her home while visiting to help her deal with severe emotional problems triggered by her rape last month in a taxicab.

A Polish-speaking New Britain officer who questioned the priest said Kramek described the act of sexual intercourse "as a therapeutic method used on the victim to help her forget the bad experiences that she had when she was sexually assaulted in the past."

A police spokesman would not comment Thursday on whether police were investigating a previous sexual assault of the girl.

Court records state that the sexual assault of the girl was interrupted when the girl's grandmother walked in on her and the priest as the two sat on the living room couch. The assault continued after the older woman gave coffee to the priest and left the room.

It is the first time in memory that a Roman Catholic priest has been in a New Britain courthouse as a criminal defendant instead of as a character witness or a comforter of a distressed family.

Local police who worked on the case said the allegations were so upsetting that they initially hoped the evidence would not support an arrest.

"These allegations are very troubling. It involves the ultimate violation of trust, the trust of a young woman in her priest," said Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano, whose office helped city police investigate the case.

According to the arrest affidavit, a Sacred Heart parishioner who is a therapist and was counseling the girl asked Kramek to provide spiritual guidance to the teen.

Instead, police said, Kramek used his position as a priest to sexually assault the girl.

On Dec. 18, inside her family's apartment, Kramek questioned the girl about her earlier rape, asking where the man had touched her and what he did to her. He then began touching her breast and crotch, ignoring her protests, court records state.

In an interview with police two days after the incident, Kramek admitted having a sexual encounter with the girl. He said he was trying to help her get over the trauma of having been raped and show her that sexual relations could be good.

During the interview, Kramek said the girl did not resist him but did not say yes to anything he did. Kramek told police he had met with the girl the day before the alleged sexual assault occurred.

She seemed indifferent during the incident and he wasn't sure if it was due to her state of mind or her medication, Kramek told police.

In her statement to police, the girl said Kramek ignored her when she said "no" and told her "shh, be quiet." She also said the priest held her down.

As he touched her, Kramek told police, he would ask her if it felt better now than when she was raped. Kramek said the girl answered "now" each time. Afterward, Kramek said, she hugged him and told him she "thinks of him as her dad."

The girl told police that the priest did hurt her but she was afraid to say anything. The girl's grandmother told police that after Kramek left the apartment, the girl began crying.

Under state law it is illegal for psychotherapists or any member of the clergy to have sex with anyone they are counseling.

The Archdiocese of Hartford and Sacred Heart parish said they were unaware of the charges until they were contacted Thursday by reporters.

About 3,000 families attend Sacred Heart, more than half of them Polish, Wysocki said.


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