Vatican investigator of child sex abuse meets Polish bishops

June 14, 2019 - 7:39 am

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Vatican's sex crimes prosecutor, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, met with Poland's Catholic bishops on Friday to share his experience in tracking crimes, after the Polish church admitted knowing about hundreds of cases over the years where priests abused minors.

Scicluna attended the bishops' plenary session Friday in Walbrzych, southwestern Poland, for a discussion about "protecting children and youths," the Episcopate said.

Bishop Piotr Libera tweeted that Scicluna's remarks were "extremely interesting."

Scicluna, a Maltese archbishop, and expert in church law, has been instrumental in revealing facts about abuse and cover up by Chilean church leaders for Pope Francis.

In February at the Vatican, he gave a point-by-point tutorial on preventing sex abuse to a summit of church leaders convened by Francis in reaction to the global sex abuse and cover-up crisis that has undermined credibility in the church.

Poland's bishops acknowledged in March they had almost 400 predator priests on record. In predominantly Catholic Poland, the church has been strongly criticized for covering up cases of abuse by priests, moving them to new parishes and failing to ban them from working with children.

Only a limited number of cases have been tried by civilian courts. In one case, the court found a clergyman guilty of abducting, detaining and abusing a 13-year-old girl more than 10 years ago and ruled that his order pay her 1 million zlotys ($265,000) in compensation.

An independent documentary in May revealed testimony from people who as children were abused and raped by Polish clergy. It led Poland's Primate Wojciech Polak to apologize to the victims, but some other bishops initially shrugged at the film.

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