Polish Scoutmaster accused of rape
PR dla Zagranicy
The trial of a Polish Scoutmaster accused of 13 offences, including rape, begins on Tuesday in Częstochowa, southern Poland.
Michał K. (surname witheld under Polish privacy laws) set up and led a unit of the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association (ZHP) near Częstochowa in 2008, at the age of 20, having initially joined the organisation in 1998.
His alleged crimes took place between 2009 and 2014 and they involved four guides who were then aged between 14 and 17.
Although the consumption of alcohol is forbidden among scouts, he allegedly encouraged several of his subordinates to drink, both on camps and during private meetings at his apartment.
While the girls were under the influence of alcohol, he apparently abused them.
“Parents had confidence in him and treated him with respect,” commented Tomasz Ozimek, spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office in Częstochowa, in an interview with the Polish Press Agency.
Ozimek noted that Michal K. was particularly focused on cultivating relations with girls who were going through puberty.
“He listened to their problems, was friendly, gave advice and was an authority for them as an older man,” he added.
The defendant, who is pleading innocent, could serve 15 years in prison if found guilty. The trial will be conducted behind closed doors.
ZHP was founded in 1918 and it went clandestine during the Second World War, cooperating with Poland's underground Home Army. Although revived after the war there was a split in 1989 amid the collapse of communism, with the breakaway ZHR claiming it was truer to the pre-war ideals of the organisation. (nh)