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Monday, December 4, 2023

Jesuit accused of sexual harassment. The second is that he did not disclose it. There is a statement from the order

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The District Prosecutor’s Office in Pszczyna (Silesian Voivodeship) sent an indictment to the District Court against two Jesuits: Wojciech K. and Maciej Sz. regarding sexual harassment and failure to report this crime to law enforcement authorities by a person who knew about it. The Southern Poland Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) assured that the order wanted the cases to be thoroughly investigated by the state justice system.

On October 27, 2023, the District Prosecutor’s Office in Pszczyna sent an indictment to the District Court in this city against two Jesuits: 61-year-old Wojciech K., who was accused of multiple offenses of causing another person to engage in sexual intercourse and other sexual activities by force, threat or deception, and 55-year-old Maciej Sz. that, having knowledge of the crime, he did not notify law enforcement authorities about it.

In this case, based on the report received in November 2014, canonical proceedings were initiated, which ended on December 20, 2018 with the imposition of a penalty by General Father Arturo Sosa SJ on Fr. Wojciech K. in the form of a permanent ban on any priestly service and pastoral work, including celebrating Holy Mass. with the people.

Due to the receipt in November 2019 of another report of sexual abuse of a minor by Fr. Wojciech K., the next canonical proceedings were initiated.

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Charges against Maciej Sz. were revealed on November 14, 2022 in a two-part investigative reportage “Towarzystwo Maciejowe” on Więź.pl.

Due to the submission of the indictment to the District Court in Pszczyna, on Monday the Southern Poland Province of the Society of Jesus issued a statement published on the order’s website.

Statement of the Order

“We want the cases to be thoroughly investigated, also by the state justice system with which we cooperate, taking into account the good of the injured,” said Jesuit Father Damian Mazurkiewicz, press spokesman for the Province of Southern Poland.

He informed that “any questions regarding the ongoing proceedings conducted by the state justice system should be directed to the District Prosecutor’s Office or the District Court in Pszczyna.”

He recalled that after the article was published on the Więź website in November 2022, the Provincial, Fr. Jarosław Paszyński SJ, by decree of November 21, 2022, ordered Father Maciej Sz. residing in a designated place of seclusion, unconnected with Jesuit houses or works, where he stays under the supervision of church authorities, being prohibited from exercising sacred service, having any contact of a pastoral nature and wearing clerical attire.

The spokesman said that “since November 30, 2022, after receiving a report from editor Paulina Guzik, a canonical preliminary investigation, the so-called investigatio praevia, was conducted by a qualified lay person.” He explained that due to the fact that “since January 2023, the case of Father Maciej Sz. has also been subject to proceedings conducted by the District Prosecutor’s Office in Pszczyna, in accordance with church procedures, in order to complete the canonical preliminary investigation, the order is waiting for the result of the state investigation.” .

He noted that “in connection with the resolution of the Supreme Court of July 1, 2022 interpreting Article 240 § 1 of the Penal Code (provides a penalty of up to 3 years’ imprisonment for a person who, having reliable information about a crime – including sexual harassment of a child), , does not immediately notify law enforcement authorities about it – ed), obliging to report the crimes mentioned in the above article, also committed before 2017, Provincial Father Jarosław Paszyński SJ reported to the police a case of sexual abuse of a person under 15 years of age by another Jesuit, Father Wojciech K.

The order “expresses great pain due to deep wounds”

Fr. Mazurkiewicz informed that “at the end of the criminal and administrative proceedings in June 2023, General Father Arturo Sosa SJ issued two decrees: on the expulsion of Father Wojciech K. from the order and on his expulsion from the clerical state. Both decrees were communicated to Father Wojciech K. July 6, 2023.

He informed that “due to the appeals against these decrees filed by Father Wojciech K., the case is currently waiting for the final decision of the Holy See.” “Until then, the effect of the decrees is suspended, but the penalties of Father Wojciech K. from December 20, 2018 are still in force.” – he explained. He said that “Father Wojciech K. is staying in a place where he has no contact with minors and is under the supervision of a church superior.”

He emphasized that the order “expresses great pain because of the deep wounds caused by the acts committed by our brothers.” The order’s readiness to accept people who would like to report harm suffered was also renewed. “They can do this by contacting our curia directly or with Father Wojciech Bojanowski SJ, the provincial delegate for the protection of children and youth (ochrona@jezuici.pl, 503-739-096),” we read in the statement. It was assured that people who reported harm “were duly received and heard.” “They are also offered psychological and pastoral support, the forms of which are agreed directly with these people, taking into account the needs of each of them,” the Jesuit said.

Main photo source: ROMSVETNIK/Shutterstock



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