Poland: 4 churchmen allegedly didn’t report sex abuse claims

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish prosecutors say they have received allegations that four senior churchmen broke the law by failing to report a complaint that a priest allegedly sexually abused a minor.

National Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Ewa Bialik confirmed to The Associated Press Wednesday that the formal notification was received this month from a new state commission that reviews whether reports of pedophilia should be reported to prosecutors.

She said the allegations were passed on to prosecutors in Krakow, who have authority over the area where the developments took place.

It was not immediately clear whether an investigation would be opened. If it is, and should charges be pressed, they would carry a potential sentence of up to three years in prison.

The allegations concern abuse by a village priest in the 1980s of a man who was then a minor. In the 1990s, the alleged victim informed the local bishop but said there was no reaction.

In 2007, another priest informed a different bishop in a detailed letter. That bishop had a legal obligation to notify prosecutors, but apparently no steps were taken. The commission found that another two church figures were also aware of the claims but didn’t act on them.

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