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Several cases of sexual abuse of children and other crimes in the Archdiocese of Rijeka



The archbishop asked the victims for forgiveness

Over the past two and a half years, the Rijeka Archdiocese has investigated nine cases of accusations of sexual abuse of minors and other crimes.

The results of the investigation were presented on Monday by the archbishop of Rijeka Mate Uzinić and cited the case of a now former priest who abused 13 boys between 1987 and 1994.

“I have already announced that I will inform the public about the entire situation related to reports and prosecution of abuses in the Archdiocese of Rijeka. Some of these reports are anonymous, which makes investigations much more difficult, but even in these cases I did everything I knew and could , in order to arrive at the truth and thus justice for the victims,” said Uzinić at the press conference. He also announced that in the event of new findings and reports, they would reopen the investigation.

The archbishop of Rijeka explained that the investigation of the first case was completed before his arrival, five cases are related to allegations of abuse of minors and adults, and the remaining charges relate to finances and servitude.

The first case: A priest sexually abused a child in 1992

The first case was that of a priest who was accused in 2016 of sexually abusing a minor in 1992. He pleaded guilty, after which he was banned from practicing the priestly profession.

A new investigation was launched in 2018, when the priest reported himself to the police for child abuse. He admitted to abusing 13 boys aged six to 13 over six years. He too was dismissed from the priestly profession.

Due to accusations of various forms of sexual abuse and harassment since 1999, several other cases were also investigated in the Archdiocese of Rijeka. Some priests allegedly sent inappropriate messages to minors and touched them inappropriately, and one was accused by a mother of abusing her minor daughter. All were forbidden to have contact with minors and to perform priestly duties.

Uzinić explained that a few days ago he received another report of sexual abuse and a report of cover-up against another person, and announced that both cases would be investigated.

The archbishop called for the abolition of the statute of limitations for cases of abuse

He said he opened investigations into all cases brought to his attention and reported them to the state prosecutor’s office, regardless of whether they were time-barred or not. At the same time, he called on the state and the church to abolish the statute of limitations on cases of abuse.

“As an archbishop, I do not have the possibility to put them in prison, but I can and will accuse them, deprive them of their jobs and prevent them from abusing the trust of people, especially families and children, through church structures and authority,” said the archbishop of Rijeka about the accused priests. At the same time, he expressed deep sorrow and shame and asked the victims for forgiveness.

The Archdiocese of Rijeka also published the report on the investigation on its website. The investigation was carried out in secret, according to Uzinić, because they wanted to protect the victims, as well as the alleged perpetrators, until they were proven guilty.

Source: Rtvslo

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