Another pedophilia scandal at the top of the Lithuanian church. The chancellor of the archdiocese of Vilnius, the priest of the archcathedral basilica, is accused by a guy in prison of sexually abusing him when he was fifteen years old.
The guy says that he had an intimate relationship with the priest Kęstučius Palikša for many years, and the priest also paid him generously for it. At that time, the archdiocese claims that it knew nothing about the accusations against the priest. And the priest himself explains to the archdiocese that he did nothing wrong.
A new scandal in the elite of the Lithuanian church. The 39-year-old priest Kęstutis Palikša, who worked in the Archcathedral Basilica until today, has been publicly accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy more than once.
News portal “Delfi” published an interview with a now 19-year-old boy who says that he was victimized by priest Kęstutis Palikša. The guy says that the chancellor of the archdiocese, whom he met on a gay dating website, had an intimate relationship with a minor for several years. He claims that the priest also paid him large sums of money for this relationship.
“Maybe there weren’t many of them, I don’t remember, I can’t say, but I only know one, that one was such that I didn’t even want to, I almost started screaming, type let me go… He then said, stay, but I said – take me home or I will call the police”, says Mantas, who allegedly suffered from the priest.
The interviewed residents shudder after such possible actions of the priest against the then 15-year-old boy from Jurbarka. Especially since this would not be the first case of pedophilia in the Catholic Church:
“I can’t see how they can be stopped anymore.” Well it is very, very painful that this is the case.”
“For me, it’s the same priest or not a priest. But pedophilia, child pornography is a terrible thing.”
Mantas, who allegedly suffered from the priest, is currently in prison. He was convicted for stealing 7,000 euros from this bank account after the priest had multiplied beer during one of their dates. The priest denies his guilt, but does not give his version of what happened. The history of the relationship between the boy and the priest was investigated by law enforcement, but the investigation was stopped because there was no evidence of abuse.
Another part of the story is becoming clear. According to TV3 sources, the young man who was allegedly victimized by the priest and is currently in prison regularly met men and women of various ages. Mostly explaining that he had a hard life because he came from an orphanage, and promising to start working to return the money he received, he extorted thousands of euros from men with whom he had intimate relationships, threatening to make the relationship public and cause a Metoo-style scandal.
The young man never returned more than 10 thousand euros to them. For some who wanted to get their money back, he threatened to go to the police and say that they had been raped.
Mantas, who was allegedly victimized by the priest, explains that he did not steal the money, but that the priest himself paid it for sexual services. When asked where he spent 7 thousand euros, he answers yes.
“I just spent them at the casino. Just. I took it, drove to Druskininki and spent it because I just didn’t need them,” says Mantas.
During the investigation of the case regarding the relationship with a minor, the house of the priest was searched. Officers found 13 pornographic videos of child abuse on the iPad. The youngest is 14 years old. The priest was convicted of possession of child pornography. He was fined 4 thousand euros. The Archdiocese says it knew nothing about it.
“We found out about this in the morning from the public space,” assures the General of the Vilnius Archdiocese. vicar Arūnas Poniškaitis.
However, the defense of the archdiocese does not convince the Catholics themselves. Allegedly, law enforcement regularly reports crimes involving priests to the archdiocese first.
“Especially since the priest’s house was searched, and he lives with several other priests. After all, people should have known about it. As I said, I am not convinced by the archdiocese’s letter that the curia did not know anything about it,” claims Simonas Bendžius, former editor of “Bernardinų”.
The Archdiocese explains that it only knew that priest Palikša was injured. That the young man, the same one who is now accusing the priest of sexual abuse, embezzled 7 thousand euros from him.
“We knew that Fr. Kęstutis Palikša has some kind of property dispute in which he appears as the victim. He knew that. Today morning, the news about all the other things was heard”, says A. Poniškaitis.
The archdiocese does not yet have an answer as to what awaits the priest who was convicted of possessing child pornography. The priest is no longer working, but he is justifying to the church and other priests that lies are being spread about him in the public space.
However, the former editor of the religious daily “Bernardinai” is not surprised by such history in the Catholic Church. He heard all the time about possible crimes of priests, about which the public knew nothing.
“I’ve been working in the Christian media for a few years, and I’ve heard so many rumors and rumors about all kinds of priests who have unofficial wives, who have children who are abusive and things like that. You won’t check it because you don’t have the tools. But you hear so many rumors that you know you have to do something,” S. Bendžius assures.
Child psychologist Edvardas Šidlauskas says that clergy are the only authorities for children who spend a lot of time in church. Therefore, children can be manipulated by priests very easily.
“It is an authority that automatically gives credit of trust, the image of a clergyman: bright, where you can lean on in difficult times. You can speak out, and by speaking out you become vulnerable”, says E. Šidlauskas.
At that time, the prosecutor’s office announces that it will re-investigate priest Palikša’s case for sexual crimes.
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