A private foundation published a map recently showing where Catholic pedophile priests in Poland have been accused of child sexual abuse, adding pressure on the church to respond.
The Have No Fear foundation, which represents abuse survivors, said the map of cases it compiled represented 255 children under age 15 who were abused by priests across Poland. The cases were drawn from court records, media reports and survivor accounts gathered by the foundation, the organization said.
More than 50 priests have been convicted of abusing children, according to the foundation. Some of them served time in prison and were reassigned to new parishes when they got out, it said.
Clergy abuse, both alleged and substantiated in court, has put church leaders in Poland under growing pressure to confront the problem. Poland’s bishops’ conference has said it is working on a report on the scale of pedophilia in the church, due to be published soon.
The map will be updated as more cases are reported and taken to court, Polish lawmaker Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, said. She is working to bring attention to the clergy abuse issue to colleagues in parliament, which is dominated by the conservative ruling party.
Unfortunately many fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg and are expecting hundreds more cases to be added to the map in a very short space of time.
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