Dep PM critcises church sluggishness against paedophile priest

Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin has attacked the Polish Catholic Church, saying it was a “scandal” that it had done nothing to stop an alleged paedophile priest.

The priest in question, Father Andrzej Dymer, was recently recalled from the chair of the John Paul II Medical Institute in Szczecin on charges of sexual relations with minors.

The scandal surrounding Dymer could do further damage to the reputation of the Catholic Church in Poland, despite the priest dying on Tuesday. The Church has been battered by a series of allegations saying that it turned a blind eye to apparent cases of sexual abuse by priests.

According to the news channel TVN24, Dymer's superiors had been aware of his alleged activities since 1995 but did not react, and nor did they ban him from working with children. Church proceedings against him were launched only after the national newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza ran a feature on the matter in 2008.

"I intervened in Father Dymer's case when I was still a senator,” Gowin wrote on Twitter. “That was years ago, and not much has happened in the matter over these years. To call this a scandal is an understatement. Either the church will finally begin to give primacy to the victims of sexual aggressors, or it will lose its credibility."

Reporting on the matter last week, the "Wiez" quarterly wrote that Dymer's superiors decided to remove him from his post after speaking with one of his victims.

In a statement to PAP released on Monday, Poland's Catholic primate Archbishop Wojciech Polak said the time the Church had taken to launch proceedings against Dymer "had no justification."