Polish leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski promises stricter punishments for child abusers

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

On Sunday, Polish leader Jarosław Kaczyński of the conservative Law and Justice Party ((pl))Polish language: ‍Prawo i Sprawiedliwość publicly declared intent to impose stricter punishment for child sexual abuse. Kaczyński said the party was ready with amendments to the penal code for sentencing up to 30-year prison terms for child sexual abuse.

Presently, sexually abusing minors below the age of fifteen can carry a sentence up to twelve years in Polish jurisdiction. Kaczyński said, "We prepared changes to the penal code meaning this crime will be punished very severely [...] there will be no suspended sentences, there will be severe penalties, maybe even up to 30 years in prison".

This announcement comes after the documentary Just don't tell anyone ((pl))Polish language: ‍Tylko nie mów nikomu was released on YouTube on Saturday. Just don't tell anyone is a documentary by Tomasz and Marek Sekielski, which is about pædophilia among Polish Roman Catholic priests, and the sex abusers being confronted by their victims. It gathered over eight million views in two days. There have been numerous complaints about Catholic churches not handling the cases of sexual abuse properly, and even covering up the acts in Poland and around the world.

Speaking about the movie, the topmost senior Polish archbishop Wojciech Polak said, "I am deeply disturbed by what I saw in Tomasz Sekielski's film. The enormous suffering of those who have been hurt gives rise to pain and shame [...] I am sorry for every wound inflicted by people of the church." Calling it as "just another apology", Anna Franowska of "Have no fear", an abuse victim support charity, told Reuters "it almost appears as if the statement was prepared before the church officials saw the movie". On Thursday, the leader of Roman Catholic Christianity, Pope Francis, imposed a law mandating Catholic priests and nuns to report cases of sexual abuse in the religious congregation to the higher church authorities.