Resignation of bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse of minors

The Vatican ambassador to Poland on Saturday announced the resignation of a Polish bishop on suspicion of covering up child sexual abuse by members of the clergy in the devout Catholic country.

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Pope “Francis has accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Kalisz, Edward Janiak,” Ambassador Salvatore Pennacchio announced in a statement.

The Vatican gave the green light to an investigation into Bishop Janiak in June and appointed an apostolic administrator to take charge of his diocese.

The accusations against the 68-year-old bishop were at the heart of a highly regarded documentary that opened the debate on abuse by the clergy.

Le documentaire de Marek and Tomasz Sekielski Hide and Seek, which has been viewed over 7 million times since it was posted on YouTube in May, tells the story of two brothers who were sexually abused by a priest.

It is told how Father Arkadiusz Hajdasz was moved from one parish to another and committed sexual violence for a quarter of a century, apparently with the tacit protection of high officials of the Church, including Bishop Janiak. .

Asked by AFP, one of the brothers, Jakub Pankowiak, considered that the resignation of Bishop Janiak was “a further step forward”, considering that “the impunity of people like him is touching at its end ”.

“From now on, each victim [de l’Église]… has a reason to hope that the damage she suffered will be recognized and that the culprits will be held responsible, ”he wrote on his Facebook account on Saturday.

“Times are changing and we won’t let anyone stop it.”

Last year, the Polish Church said nearly 400 of its members had committed sexual violence against children in the past three decades.

But Piotr Studnicki, of the Polish Office for Child Protection in the Polish Church, said that figure “has at least doubled”, as many victims have since come forward.

In July, he told AFP that in addition to Janiak, “at least 10 other Polish bishops had been denounced for negligence”.

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