Poland will hold a wide-ranging public inquiry into cases of pedophilia, the country’s prime minister said on Tuesday after a spate of child sex abuse allegations against Catholic priests.
Speaking after a Cabinet meeting, Mateusz Morawiecki said the new commission would concern itself with all social groups, including priests, artists and teachers.
Morawiecki told reporters that the work of the commission would cover “absolutely everyone, of course not excluding the Church, not excluding the clergy, the men in purple, but also all those artistic and teaching communities where there is contact with children—carers, coaches.”
He argued that statistically child sex abuse occurred in a variety of social groups and that it needed to be stamped out without giving anyone “lenient treatment.”
Polish lawmakers last week voted through tougher penalties for child sex abuse, including longer prison terms for pedophiles.
Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro at the start of last week appointed a team of prosecutors to investigate events depicted in a recent documentary about cases of pedophilia among priests, according to a spokeswoman for the National Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Senior Polish churchmen have offered apologies after the film, entitled Tell No One, told stories of people who said they were molested by priests in childhood.
Amid a wave of soul searching over the allegations, one of Poland’s top clerics has apologised in a media interview for “pain, tears and suffering” inflicted by Roman Catholic priests.