Group urges firm stance in punishing Polish priest
By ADAM WITTENBERG
Special to The Bristol Press
Published on 10/05/2004
NEW BRITAIN -- A national advocacy group for victims of sex abuse by clergy is urging
the state's attorney to seek an admission of guilt from Polish priest Roman Kramek.
Citing concerns that Kramek will abuse again if he is allowed to return to Poland,
members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are drafting a letter
to New Britain State's Attorney Scott Murphy, asking him to be firm in negotiating a plea
deal that was offered to Kramek last week.
Kramek, 42, is accused of second-degree sexual assault for allegedly having sex with a
17-year-old girl in December 2002 while he was counseling her for a previous sexual assault.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, but Kramek could reduce that time
if he accepts the plea deal Nov. 3.
Although terms of the offer were not released, the director of SNAP Connecticut said she is
worried Kramek's charges will be reduced and that his punishment will not fit the crime.
"A sentence that's not going to fit the crime will allow the stigma, guilt and embarrassment
(of the victim) to continue and the state cannot send that message," said Landa Mauriello-Vernon,
director of SNAP-CT.
The international nature of the case is an added concern as charges in one country could have
little impact in another land.
"Once a priest is allowed to move to a foreign country, as Kramek has given every indication
he will do, the American bishops lose track of them. If someone has a first offense here, then
they can go back and (make) more victims there," Mauriello-Vernon said.
That may not necessarily be the case.
Even if Kramek is allowed to return home, the archbishop of Hartford may choose to forward
information indicating the threat he may pose to children or young people, according to the policy
on allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors posted on the archdiocese's Web site.
Church officials were unavailable for comment Monday afternoon, but questions remain as to
whether these rules would apply to Kramek, since he was a visiting priest from Poland and not a
priest of the Hartford archdiocese.
The archdiocese also prohibits the transfer to another diocese of any priest or deacon who
has sexually abused a minor.
Still, SNAP officials cite a report in the Dallas Morning News that found 200 known or
suspected abusive priests have fled to foreign countries in recent years, some to escape
"A change of scenery doesn't cure a child molester. We only fear he will abuse again
elsewhere," Mauriello-Vernon said.
© The Bristol Press 2004