Polish lawmaker panned for excusing priest who abused girls

Polish lawmaker panned for excusing priest who abused girls

Polish lawmaker panned for excusing priest who abused girls

Cars drive on the street in front of the Temple of Divine Providence, a major church in the Polish capital, in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, May 13, 2019. (Credit: Czarek Sokolowski/AP.)

Poland's opposition lawmakers demanded Wednesday that a ruling party member be excluded from parliament's work on new laws to curb sex abuse of minors, alleging he had tried to justify the actions of a priest convicted of pedophilia.

WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s opposition lawmakers demanded Wednesday that a ruling party member be excluded from parliament’s work on new laws to curb sex abuse of minors, alleging he had tried to justify the actions of a priest convicted of pedophilia.

The conservative government said this week that the penalty for child sex abuse must be increased following recent revelations about such abuse by priests. Parliament is to debate the government draft Wednesday.

A documentary containing harrowing testimony by men and women of being molested and raped by priests when they were children aired on YouTube, triggering soul searching in the nation’s influential Catholic Church.

Opposition lawmakers say prosecutor Stanislaw Piotrowicz, who is head of the parliament’s justice commission and lawmaker for the ruling pro-church party, should be excluded from parliamentary debate and voting on the law. They claim he had in the past tried to play down the actions of a priest who later was convicted and handed a suspended prison term for inappropriately touching and kissing small girls.

Parliament officials said that the new law will not be sent to the commission he presides over for debate.

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