Polish MPs pass tougher penalties for child sex abuse
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish lawmakers have voted through tougher penalties for child sex abuse, including longer prison terms for pedophiles.
Opposition MPs hold placards demanding a state inquiry into pedophilia allegations against priests as the lower house of Poland's parliament debates tougher penalties for child sex abuse on Thursday evening. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Under new rules approved by MPs on Thursday, offenders convicted of sex crimes against minors would serve mandatory jail terms, while suspended sentences would not be used in such cases.
Under the new rules, the maximum prison term for child rape would be increased from 15 to 30 years, with the most serious offenders facing life imprisonment.
The most serious pedophile crimes would not be subject to any statute of limitations.
The bill passed in a 263-3 vote with three abstentions after an emotional debate in the lower house of parliament late on Thursday, state news agency PAP reported.
The legislation now goes to the Senate, the upper house of Poland's parliament, for further debate.
Despite an earlier plan by the government, MPs voted to leave minors defined as persons aged 15 and under in the case of child sex abuse crimes.
Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro on Monday appointed a team of prosecutors to investigate events depicted in a recent documentary about cases of pedophilia among priests, according to a spokeswoman for the National Public Prosecutor's Office.
The leader of Poland’s ruling conservatives, Jarosław Kaczyński, on Sunday pledged to bring in tougher penalties for pedophiles.
One of Poland’s top clerics has apologised in a media interview for “pain, tears and suffering” inflicted by Roman Catholic priests amid a wave of soul searching over a spate of child sex abuse allegations.
Source: PAP, IAR