Bishop pedophilia poland
© Reuters / Jacek Marczewski
FILE PHOTO: People carry a banner, reading "Bishop, hiding pedophilia is a crime," during a protest in Warsaw.
Nearly 30% of all sexual offences against minors in Poland are linked to representatives of the clergy, the State Commission on Pedophilia revealed in its first report.

The commission, which was established by the government in 2019, shared the results of its work on Monday in a 250-page paper.

The experts examined 349 pedophilia cases during this period, with priests being suspects in around 100 of them. More than 50 of these cases have been forwarded to the Prosecutor's Office, the report said.

The commission also criticized the Polish Catholic Church for its unwillingness to cooperate with the government on the controversial issue.

"In countries like Australia and the US, the church leaders have long understood that tackling pedophilia and working together with the authorities in this area is a matter of elementary credibility of their institutions," but this wasn't the case in Poland, the paper stated.

The materials contained in the report were "frightening," but they only proved that the fight against these "heinous crimes" must continue, Blazej Kmieciak, the commission's chairman, said.

But not only priests and strangers were accused of molesting children, with some offences attributed to family members, including parents, in 35% of the cases, the report read. The majority were men (94%), it added.

Most of the victims were aged between 11 and 15, but there were also many between 3 and 10. The youngest child to suffer sexual abuse among the cases viewed by the commission was just one year old.

The report emphasized the severe psychological trauma suffered by sexually abused children. It urged the cases against pedophiles to be prioritized by prosecutors and recommended that a special position of 'child advocate' be introduced to deal with them.

Poland is a mainly Catholic country, and the church has been plagued by accusations of sexual abuse against minors for years. In 2019, public pressure forced it to release a report saying it had recorded almost 400 cases of priests molesting 625 children since 1990. However, the names of the offenders remained undisclosed. A documentary which came out the same year claimed that the pedophile priests were never punished for their sins, but were only transferred to another parish where they could continue their criminal behavior.