Petition demands investigation into sex abuse in Czech Catholic Church

The victim-led petition also calls for the resignation of Prague Archbishop Jan Graubner who it alleges covered sexual abuse by a priest.


Written by ČTK Published on 12.02.2024 10:54:00 (updated on 12.02.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Victims of abuse by priests in the Czech Republic are urging the establishment of an independent commission to investigate sexual violence cases within the Catholic Church. 

An online petition calling for the resignation of Prague Archbishop Jan Graubner alleges that Graubner – while serving as the archbishop of Olomouc – was aware of a priest abusing children but failed to take action. 

The petition, addressed to the Czech Bishops’ Conference and the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU, alleges that while there are dozens of known victims of abuse by priests in the Czech Republic, there could be hundreds – possibly thousands – more.

“In numerous places around the world, bishops who covered up the perpetrators of sexual abuse against children and young people have resigned. No one has held them personally responsible in our country,” the petition’s authors write.

The petition also draws attention to the global trend of high-profile figures resigning in places where they concealed sexual abuse against minors, highlighting the lack of personal responsibility in the Czech Republic. It mentions Hungarian President Katalin Novák, who resigned last week after a child abuse pardon scandal.

The victims’ appeal requests the Catholic Church to grant an independent institution access to the archives of dioceses, religious orders, and monastic communities for a thorough investigation into cases of sexual abuse. 

The petition also calls for personal accountability and the resignation of bishops who neglected to prevent sexual predators among priests despite knowing about their actions.

The petition, which specifically targets Graubner, the current head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop of Prague since July 2023, alleges that the archbishop was aware of child abuse by a priest during his tenure in Olomouc but transferred the offender to other locations within his diocese.

Graubner, during his time as the Archbishop of Olomouc, faced repeated criticism for his handling of a case involving priest František Merta, who abused altar boys in the 1990s but ultimately received a suspended sentence. 

Despite media and public scrutiny, Graubner has consistently maintained that he did not cover up any misconduct by priests. The police dismissed a criminal complaint against Graubner filed by a former theology student related to the Merta case.

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