(AP) A senior official of Poland’s Catholic Church apologized Friday to the victims of pedophile priests, and prosecutors said they have opened a probe into allegations that two Polish priests, including a Vatican envoy, sexually abused boys in the Dominican Republic.
The secretary of the Episcopate, Bishop Wojciech Polak, told a news conference the church is seeking to make amends, including to Dominican victims, and work on prevention of such abuse.
“The victims have been profoundly wronged,” Polak said. “It is a very painful situation, and we sympathize with the victims because their trust has been violated.”
“Sorry is the least that can be said.”
But Polak said any legal responsibility and financial compensation ordered by a court rests with the convicted wrongdoer, not with the church. He was speaking to reporters about allegations in the Dominican Republic and in Poland, where 27 priests have been convicted since 2001.
Polak said the figure was the “tip of an iceberg” because acts of pedophilia are kept secret, and it can take years for the victims to speak out. [More]