Czech trial of priest accused of sexually molesting Romani children to resume next month
On 15 June the trial began at the Přerov District Court of Catholic priest Vladimír Krejsa on charges of sexually molesting children in Přerov. The 64-year-old clergyman from the Přerov area, who is retired and no longer working as a priest, used to visit a Romani community in a troubled locality near the train station.
Krejsa is charged with two different felonies. The initial hearing of his case was a closed session and the judge postponed the trial until mid-August due to the failure of some witnesses to appear.
"The defendant was charged with the offenses of endangering a child's upbringing and seducing a child to engage in sexual intercourse, each of which carries a sentence of anywhere between six months and five years. In order to protect the victims, who include children younger than 18, I am not permitted to discuss either the circumstances or the facts of the case. There was more than one instance of this conduct perpetrated over approximately three and a half years," said state prosecutor Šárka Pivodová.
Judge Emilie Richterová asked the public to leave the courtroom prior to the indictment being read. Approximately 10 local youths came to the hearing as witnesses.
Most of the witnesses declined to testify, while others did not make it to the hearing. "The defendant and his attorney are insisting they be interrogated. We have postponed the hearing until 13 August. Some witnesses are serving time and we must ask for them to be escorted from prison. The defendant and his attorney also disagree with the reading of the expert testimony, so I will have to summon the expert," the judge said.
The case came to light in June 2014 when police officers arrested the priest in a tenement near the train station in Přerov inhabited mainly by Romani families. He was accused of molesting five boys.
One boy's parent contacted authorities about the case. Krejsa is not in custody and neither he nor his attorney will comment on the case.
The state prosecutor recommended he be remanded into custody but the court disagreed. Jiří Gračka, spokesperson for the Archbishopric of Olomouc, told the daily Právo last year that Krejsa has long been ill and does not, therefore, work as a priest.
"He traveled to Přerov on his own initiative. He was not in contact with the faithful there. Should the allegations of his conduct be proven, it did occur in relation to any spiritual matters. We will not be taking any steps in the matter for the time being, as officially we know nothing about the case, which is, moreover, at the very beginning of being investigated," Gračka told the paper.
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