We respect the people aggrieved by Father Arkadiusz H. – said the Diocesan Curia in Kalisz on Wednesday. “We express our solidarity to them, we apologize for the harm they have suffered and we are ready to help them” – she added. On Tuesday, the trial of a clergyman accused of several offenses of a sexual nature against a minor began. The priest pleaded guilty.
“In connection with the criminal trial conducted against Rev. Arkadiusz H., who pleaded guilty and apologized for his actions, we respect those wronged by him with great respect, express our solidarity to them, apologize for the harm they have suffered and we are ready to help them “- it was written in the Wednesday statement of the Diocesan Curia in Kalisz.
“In the canonical trial conducted at the same time, we are awaiting the decisions of the Holy See, which we intend to inform about the verdict of the state court as soon as it is passed” – added.
Negative hero of the Sekielski brothers’ film “Hide-and-seek”
The case concerns priest Arkadiusz H., depicted in the Sekielski brothers’ film “Zabawa w chanego”. The document, broadcast in May 2020, presented the story of three boys – brothers Bartłomiej, Jakub and Andrzej – used by a priest from the Kalisz diocese, Arkadiusz H. After the film was broadcast, the priest was suspended from his priestly service.
The National Prosecutor’s Office in the announcement of May 16 informed that “the proceedings in the case of Arkadiusz H. were initiated by a notification received by the prosecutor’s office in December 2018”. “It concerned a crime that was supposed to take place 20 years earlier. The prosecutor’s office immediately, after two days, asked the Diocesan Curia in Kalisz for access to the personal files of Arkadiusz H. along with the documentation of the course and places of priestly service,” she said.
The prosecutor’s office accused the priest that “between September 1998 and May 2000 in Pleszew, he committed sexual offenses to the detriment of a 15-year-old victim”. 52-year-old Fr. Arkadiusz H. was supposed to hurt six more boys who reported to the prosecutor’s office, but the cases were discontinued due to the statute of limitations.
The priest pleaded guilty to the alleged acts. “I am aware of and feel a great deal of harm”
The trial in this case began on Tuesday in the court in Pleszew (Greater Poland Voivodeship). Accused Father Arkadiusz H. confessed to the accusation against him. Earlier, he did not confess in the prosecutor’s office and refused to testify.
– The allegation in question was made by me. (…) I want to apologize very sincerely from the bottom of my humble heart. I repeat once again – very strongly apologize to Mr. Bartholomew, who is bringing in today in his indictment. I am aware and feel the enormous damage that I have done to Mr. Bartholomew through my human weakness, inefficiency, and sinfulness – said the clergyman in the court.
– I have never been guided in my life by hurting anyone, but human weakness has caused that today, on the basis of the past months, thoughts, many prayers, prayers in the spirit and intercession for the victim, I confess once again with repentance. guilt and I am asking Mr. Bartłomiej P. to forgive my weaknesses, my sins and I am asking for the grace of such fraternal reconciliation – if it is possible – on the part of the person aggrieved by me – he added.
The prosecutor demanded the accused 6 years in prison, his defense counsel suspended 1.5 years for 5 years. The verdict is expected to be announced on Monday
The aggrieved party said that no words of regret of the priest were of any importance. – We only want a fair sentence and we will accept every sentence – he said. In his opinion, “the apology may be made in the context of false repentance or a desire to receive a lighter sentence.”
Main photo source: PAP / Tomasz Wojtasik