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Polish courtroom acquits males in toppling of priest statue


WARSAW, Poland — The Gdansk district courtroom on Monday acquitted three males who in 2019 toppled a statue of a late priest suspected of sexually abusing minors, a symbolic second within the historically Catholic nation’s reckoning with clerical abuse.

The priest, Henryk Jankowski, who died in 2010, rose to prominence within the Eighties by way of his help for the pro-democracy Solidarity motion and its chief, Lech Walesa, of their wrestle in opposition to Poland’s communist regime.

As proof mounted after his dying about his alleged abuse of girls and boys, officers at first refused to take down a statue honoring him, so the three activists determined to behave.

The three — Konrad Korzeniowski, Rafal Suszek and Michal Wojcieszczuk — pulled it down one night time in February 2019. They then referred to as the police to report themselves, and in addition issued a manifesto explaining they’d acted for the nice of the group.

They accused the church of “systemic complicity in the evil done to people by Henryk Jankowski” they usually accused public officers of trying away from the issue.

Shipyard employees re-erected the statue earlier than metropolis councilors voted to take away it and strip his title from the sq. the place it stood.

Last yr a decrease courtroom discovered the three activists responsible of insulting and destroying the monument, however selected to not impose a penalty as a result of “low social harmfulness” of the act. On Monday a better dominated on attraction to acquit the three and the ruling is closing.

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One of the boys, Wojcieszczuk, mentioned he welcomed the tip of the proceedings and the truth that the statue is gone — which means that the priest’s victims will ever need to stroll by it once more.

But he didn’t think about the end result a full success, as a result of the trial, with no witnesses allowed to testify, didn’t spark the extensive public reckoning over clerical abuse that he and the opposite two males had sought.

He contrasted the shortage of wider debate in Poland to the response in England to the toppling in 2020 of a statue of slave dealer Edward Colston, an occasion greeted with pleasure and debates in regards to the legacy of racism.

“This debate took place in England and did not take place in Poland,” he informed The Associated Press. “It’s a little step forward but it didn’t change the world to what it should be.”



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