A Polish court sentenced a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children in Poland and the Dominican Republic to seven years in jail, Reuters reported.
The priest will also have to pay his eight victims a total of 155,000 zlotys (US$41,700) in compensation, and will not be allowed to work with minors for 15 years, the judge in the regional court in Wolomin ruled Wednesday.
The priest, who under Polish law can only be identified as Wojciech G., was suspended by his religious order in the rural Dominican parish of Juncalito last year after local residents accused him of molesting altar boys, the church said.
He was arrested after returning to his native Poland and tried on 10 charges relating to child sex abuse and possessing pornographic images of children. The charges carried a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail.
Earlier this month, the priest offered to serve a seven-year jail term, under a part of Polish law that lets defendants file such motions without admitting guilt. Polish media have quoted him as saying he is not guilty.
Pope Francis has pledged zero tolerance for anyone in the church who abuses children, likening such molestation to a “satanic mass”.
The Vatican arrested a defrocked Polish archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, former Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, last year after he was accused of having sex with children during his posting.
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