The Catholic diocese of Bielsko-Żywiec in Poland and Bishop Roman Pindel have asked a court to determine if a 12-year-old altar boy took pleasure in his abuse at the hands of a priest. A church court already found the priest guilty of abusing Janusz Szymik as a child.
Janusz Szymik alleged a priest known only as Father Jan W. began abusing him as a 12-year-old. The priest admitted to the abuse during a church trial in 2017.
The boy twice reported the abuse to the then bishop of the local Catholic diocese. But Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy ignored him in on both occasions. In 2014, the church finally removed Father Jan W. from the diocese. Last year, the Vatican disciplined the former bishop for ignoring the complaints.
The church court found Father Jan W. guilty of the abuse based on the victim’s evidence and his own confession. The court gave him a five-year ban from ‘priestly duties’. It also ordered him to live ‘in seclusion’, presumedly in a monastery.
Janusz Szymik recently launched civil action seeking just over AU$1 million for the abuse. Polish news site Onet then obtained and published part of the response from the local Catholic diocese and Bishop Roman Pindel.
The diocese denied the relationship was based on enslavement or incapacitation. “On the contrary: it was voluntary and based on mutual benefits.”
The church also denies responsibility because meetings between the priest and altar boy took place outside the church and the child ‘participated voluntarily’.
“Meetings were held not only in the rectory, but also outside. Such meetings were, therefore, private meetings… in which the plaintiff participated voluntarily.”
The deposition quotes the current Bishop Roman Pindel and another bishop as saying the victim “did not show any trauma and did not want any help while reporting on the events of the past.”
An expert sexologist
The diocese requested “evidence from the opinion of an expert sexologist on the circumstance of establishing the plaintiff’s sexual preferences, including in particular the determination of the plaintiff’s sexual orientation.”
It asked that the court determine whether the victim took “pleasure in the intimate relationship.”
Finally, lawyers for the Catholic diocese and Bishop Roman Pindel denied the 12-year-old suffered lasting damage from the abuse.
“It is not true that the claimant’s claim that seeing Fr W. in front of the altar was associated with a particular trauma or torment. Moreover, the plaintiff did not show that the sexual contact with Fr W. during his adolescence caused him health disorder.”
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