Prague cardinal Dominik Duka

Police investigate Prague cardinal for alleged sex abuse cover-up

Czech police are investigating the Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka, for allegedly covering up the continued sexual abuse of a seminarian.

Driving the news

The Czech news outlet Seznam broke the story Tuesday of a man known as ‘Patrik R.’, who says he was raped by a fellow Dominican seminarian over a three-year period in the early 1990s, when Duka was Provincial of the Order in the country.

Patrik said he reported soon after to Duka the attacks he repeatedly suffered at the seminary, but that Duka didn’t do anything.

For that reason, he’s now decided to bring a criminal complaint against Duka, who has been Archbishop of Prague since 2010.

Duka admitted in April this year that he remembered Patrik’s case well.

But the cardinal said he couldn’t act on it, because the alleged aggressor swore on the cross that his accuser was lying, and Duka hence found himself at a “stalemate” in deciding between one man’s word against another’s.

Patrik’s alleged abuser later left the Dominican order after being accused of further sexual abuse.

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In 2006 the Church opened a canonical trial against the alleged aggressor.

A verdict was not forthcoming, however, since the man died in 2007.

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Go deeper

In conversation with Seznam, Patrik denounced the lapse of over a decade between when he complained to Duka about his aggressor and when that man was brought to a canonical trial.

“If [Duka] had behaved differently, he could have prevented many other victims”, Patrik denounced.

“The offender, whom Duka knew very well and recommended for ordination, probably abused dozens of other victims”, Patrik added.

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Why it matters

Patrik said he decided to bring a criminal complaint against Duka now, nearly three decades after the fact, because “I have no other opportunity to deal with my case with dignity”.

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Patrik added that he’s coming forward now because Duka has repeatedly refused his offer of a face-to-face meeting, and because he has new information from other Dominican victims that he wants to share with the police.

Patrik’s lawyer, Daniel Bartoň, added that even if the statute of limitations has expired on Duka’s alleged crimes of aiding and abetting sexual abuse, it still makes sense to investigate the cardinal, as a way of bringing closure to Patrik and other potential victims.

“In the Dominican Order and then elsewhere, [Duka] was supposed to stop the perpetrators of sexual offenses”, Bartoň denounced.

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For the record

Contacted by Seznam, Duka refused to comment on Patrik’s accusations.

However, a spokesman for the Prague archdiocese, Romuald Štěpán Rob, said “the Cardinal is fully prepared to cooperate with law enforcement authorities”.

“As the person who will testify to the police will also sign a declaration of confidentiality regarding the information in the file, [Duka] will not publicly comment on the case”, added the spokesman.

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Cameron Doody

Director and editor at Novena
PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. Lecturer in ethics at Loyola University Maryland, Alcalá de Henares (Spain) campus. Religion journalist with 4 years experience.