FOR CONSIDERATION OF THE EDITOR MAREK SAWICKI, A THEOLOGIAN AND AUTHOR OF ‘GAZETA WYBORCZA – NIEDZIELA’
UNJUSTIFIED ACCUSATION MAY KILL
A few dozen people innocently accused of pedophilia, one of them committed a suicide in custody…It was so in France and it can be so in Poland
A dozen years ago in Outreau town in the south of France a big pedophile affair broke out. !8 people were sued to the court, including 6 women, accused of group rapes on 18 children at the age from 3 to 12. According to a prosecutor, the accused were to belong to the organized pedophile net. 4 people admitted their allegations, the other culprits kept on saying they were innocent. Whole France was shocked by the scale of crimes which were to be done by the so-called ordinary citizens.
Among the accused of pedophilia there were among the others: a priest, a taxi driver, a bailiff and a cashier, as well as an unemployed married couple, Myriam and Thierry Delay who admitted to their pedophilic acts on their four children and the children of their neighbours’. During the investigation process, Myriam was giving investigators surnames of people who were to belong to an alleged gang of pedophiles.
Just before the end of the process there was an unexpected turning point ‘in the case of Outreau’. During one of legal cases Myriam Delay admitted with tears in her eyes that allegations made by her against 14 people, alleged rapists of children were completely made up….A big scandal broke out…
How did it happen? The scandal started from the marriage of Delay and their children who were taken to a foster family. There, children started speaking that they had been victims of pedophilic practices. An investigation was started in the matter of a net of children traders and pedophiles in Outreau. On the basis of unconfirmed information, the police were arresting people on a large scale who were convicted of participation in a pedophilic gang. Inhabitants of the town were overwhelmed by a group hysteria. Media were crazy. Other press information releases revealed other shocking details of the alleged pedophilic nightmare. The matter was to involve also the representatives of the so-called better company sexually using children from poor families. There were even clues pointing to a murder of one of children.
Under this hysteria there appeared more and more children who were the victims of sexual harassment. A group of suspected people increased to over 50 people. The victims of the alleged pedophilic gang totaled to 18 children.
However, as it turned out, the thesis accepted uncritically by a young investigating judge Fabric Burgaud about the existence of a pedophilic net in Outreau turned out to be false. The only culprits of the rapes on children were Myriam and Thierry Delay and their neighbours David Delplanque and AurelieGrenon. Finally they were sentenced to imprisonment from 4 to 20 years. The rest of the accused, totally 14 people, were acquitted of the allegations. Wrongly judged by Myriam Delay and her sons, they were waiting for being acquitted for three years. At that time their family life and career were completely destroyed. Being sentenced to a long-term stay in custody, stigmatized with the term of pedophiles, they were experiencing an unimaginable tragedy every day. One of the wrongly accused of pedophilia committed a suicide in custody before the first judicial process.
The issue of the alleged net of pedophiles from Outreau turned out to be a real defeat of the French administration of justice. The French justice minister Dominique Perben admitted that during the investigation serious procedural mistakes were made. President Jacques Chirac called the issue of Outreau an ’unprecedented judicial catastrophe’ and addressed a letter to each of the accused with apology. Whole France was in shock. There was established a parliamentary investigation commission.
What 14 people faced, citizens wrongly accused of pedophilia, might happen to anybody, also in Poland. Maybe with this difference that if it was in Poland that Myriam Delay would announce that her accusations are false, the court would not believe her, and people wrongly accused by her would be sentenced on the basis of her evidence within an investigation.
France is a country of one of the most important standards of sticking to human rights. And only thanks to the fact that Myriam Delay’s conscience was moved, the falsehood of the accusation came out into public.
If it had not been for this unexpected reaction of the culprit, a dozen innocent people would be in prison till today.
In Polish media we have heard a lot about pedophilia. Especially about pedophilia in the Church. Single, separate, and, first of all, unchecked and unproved cases become a pretext for an attack on the whole Church. A cluster of words is being created – a priest – pedophile, the church-pedophilia…At the hundredth time an association will come automatically and people will perceive every priest suspiciously and even with abhorrence…
Recently Poland has been shocked by accusations of pedophilia which was to be allegedly done by the Polish bishop and the Polish priest in Dominican Republic. But nobody has checked yet, nobody has confirmed these allegations, all evidence is thousands kilometres far away from here – but in Poland the judicial process has already taken place, a media lynching has already taken place. The bishop and the priest have already been accused by media and sentenced without any investigation, without any judicial process, without any verdict.
Because in Dominican Republic as somebody pointed to them….. – it was enough… Dominican Republic is a beautiful country, but legal standards, with all respect, are lower there than in France. Big influence belongs to a ruthless drug mafia.
If in France such a terrible scandal was possible, like in Outreau, if there was a possible accusation in France, a terrible maltreatment and destroying innocent people – then it is possible in Dominican Republic.
And, unfortunately, it is also possible in Poland, especially if in the atmosphere of hatred towards the Church in a group of the suspected, there will appear a priest or a bishop.
Pedophilia is a terrible bad act, is a ‘Judah’s’ act, as it has recently been called so by bishops. Every culprit of this act should be punished in a just way, no matter who committed this act, including a priest.
But this punishment should be preceded by a reliable and just investigation, an objective process – not lynch, without defence, without proving a guilt.
I was thinking so, reading about this French issue from Outreau in media and looking at the anti-church and anti-pedophilic hysteria in Poland – that the Polish utro (Outreau) is beginning just today…
It is a test from a column from the cycle ‘Try to think’, presented on Radio Maryja on 16 October 2013.