Conspiracy of Silence
By Marcin Mierzejewski
13 February 2003
The investigation into Poland's biggest pedophile scandal has come to a grinding halt, according to the Wprost weekly.
Four months ago journalists from Wprost and Polsat TV revealed the existence of a pedophile network. In the cover story of its latest issue (Feb. 9) Wprost asks a dramatic question: who is covering up the pedophile scandal?
The collected materials which the journalists passed on to the law enforcement authorities included evidence incriminating at least 50 people, accused of sexually abusing children and being involved in the procurement and production of pornographic materials with the participation of juveniles.
At the time, Zygmunt Kapusta, head of the Appellate Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw, commented on the "complete cooperation of journalists, the police and the prosecutor's office." Kapusta added that it was "an unprecedented case. There has never been such a large-scale investigation before." Similarly, Justice Minister Grzegorz Kurczuk said "there will be no leniency towards anybody, no matter how high their social status."
However, after four months of investigations, the results are far from satisfying. Directly after the information provided by the journalists was received by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBŚ), four suspects were arrested. The CBŚ was taken off the investigation when the prosecutor's office stepped in. Proceedings were taken over by an investigation department of the Warsaw Police Headquarters in which, according to Wprost, only one person started working the case.
The Wprost journalists also question the order in which witnesses were examined-the order was set by Prosecutor Agnieszka Ważna from the Regional Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw. Rather than the suspects, it was the journalists themselves who were first interviewed. "During lengthy sessions we were asked about meaningless details or about quotes from the articles published in Wprost," writes Piotr Kudzia and Grzegorz Pawelczyk. "They even tried to prove that we had concealed some information."
"I have no doubts that there's a conspiracy of silence in the case of pedophilia," said Stanisław Iwanicki, former minister of justice and prosecutor general. He claims that the police and prosecutors in Poland are pressed "not to reveal certain things, as they could harm some very influential circles."
Another former minister of justice, now mayor of Warsaw, Lech Kaczyński, agrees that pedophile rings are so influential in Poland that in practice they hold the authority to decide how this crime should be fought. "Which means that it's not fought at all,"
Kaczyński spells out. This is confirmed by unofficial statements Warsaw policemen have made to Wprost. They have known for years that Warsaw has pedophiles in high places-including the Sejm.
The suspicion of a conspiracy of silence is indirectly supported by Krzysztof Janik, minister of internal affairs and administration, who said: "I don't know why the investigation is moving at a snail's pace. I don't suspect prosecutors of neglecting the investigation on purpose. I have, however, already noticed that even judges and prosecutors lack courage in cases against pedophiles. Such cases are usually worked in silence, so as not to shock anybody, and the sentences which have been passed so far were not too severe."
Official declarations stating that the case revealed by Wprost and Polsat would be the first Polish investigation pursued on the model provided by Western law enforcement authorities, where special groups of policemen and prosecutors work cases against pedophiles (see sidebar), have turned out to be groundless. Nevertheless, the journalists are not giving up-in cooperation with French television they are preparing a documentary about a pedophile network active in France which was in contact with their Polish counterparts.
Maybe this will help break the conspiracy of silence concerning pedophilia in Poland, as French police have no reason to protect pedophiles with well-known names active in Poland, conclude Kudzia and Pawelczyk.