Poland doubles jail time for paedophiles after clergy abuse doco goes viral

Poland is planning to double jail terms for convicted paedophiles after a documentary on priest sex abuse sparked outrage in the country.

The documentary includes harrowing testimonies from victims and has been viewed more than 18 million times.

Convicted paedophiles could now face up to 30 years or even life in prison.

Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour of the longer sentences which will not only permanently incarcerate dangerous paedophiles but also remove a statute of limitations on prosecuting the most drastic cases of child sex abuse.

The changes were introduced by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) government, which is closely allied with the Church in the devoutly Catholic country.

The ruling Law and Justice party says the legal amendments have been in the works for months and the proposal will now go to the senate.

The proposed amendments were introduced just 10 days ahead of the election race for the European Parliament.

The PiS is currently polling neck-and-neck with the European Coalition, a collective of opposition parties.

Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki says it is the government’s “strong conviction” that suspended sentences should not apply in cases of paedophilia.

“It is difficult to imagine a more serious offence than the betrayal of the trust of the youngest people, those placed under someone’s protection.

“Therefore, people, who are guardians in various institutions, including all secular and Church institutions, all such persons will have to bear even more severe penalties.”

The documentary “Only Don’t Tell Anyone” by brothers Tomasz and Marek Sekielski has been viewed nearly 18 million times since it was posted on YouTube on Saturday.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Poland, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, has expressed “the closeness and solidarity of the Holy Father towards victims of abuse,”.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who is the Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will visit Poland in June at the request of the Polish Bishops.

It includes secret camera footage of victims confronting priests about their alleged abuse. Some of the priests admit to the abuse.

Police have prevented the documentary from being projected on to the façade of churches in Warsaw and Gdansk.

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