Paedophilia Scandal Hits Catholic Church in Croatia

By 3 April 2018

The police are investigating.

The Catholic Church in Croatia has been hit by the latest paedophilia scandal, reports Index.hr on April 3, 2018.

The Split-Makarska Archdiocese issued a short statement this morning, saying that Archbishop Marin Barišić had sanctioned one of the local clerics with suspension. The reason is the fact that the Archdiocese Ordinary has received a notice about possible criminal activity by the cleric in question.

Despite journalists' inquiries, the Archbishopric officials have said they would not provide any further information on the criminal offence of which the suspended cleric is suspected, in order to “protect the reputation of everybody, primarily the victim.”

The statement shows that the church authorities, despite having information about a possible criminal offense, have not reported the case to the competent state authorities, the police and the State Attorney's Office. According to the statement, this will be done only if the Church, through its internal investigation, determines that the allegation is credible.

According to unofficial sources, the punishable offence refers to a sexual assault on a minor committed by a friar from the St. Francis monastery in Split.

Of course, all citizens of the Republic of Croatia, including the Catholic Church priests, are obliged to report to the police all information they have about possible commission of criminal offences, particularly in the case of such serious crimes such as the sexual abuse of minors.

In this particular case, the situation is even worse, because the superior priest of the one accused of paedophilia is the guardian of the monastery, who is also the police chaplain, which means that he is in regular contact with police officers. Still, not even this has prompted him to report the case to the police.

The police have confirmed that they had not received any report about the case, either from the victim or from any other source. However, since the story has now been published by the media, the police will check all the allegations and inform the State Attorney's office about the facts.

The Split-Dalmatia Police Administration has issued a statement on the case. “Due to the media interest about the event which allegedly occurred in a monastery in Split, we inform you that the Split-Dalmatia Police Administration has not received a report about this event. However, we will check all the allegations without delay and, depending on the facts, take further action from within the police jurisdiction and send a report to the State Attorney's Office”, said the police in the press release.

Translated from Index.hr