Pope John Paul II covered up abuse by priests before becoming pope: Research

Concrete evidence shows former pope knew child abuse priests while he was archbishop, says Dutch journalist Overbeek.

Pope John Paul II covered up abuse by priests before becoming pope: Research

Pope John Paul II covered up abuse by priests decades before becoming a pope, according to a Dutch investigative journalist.

The pope ignored the sexual abuse of minors by some priests under his administration in Krakow, Poland, where he was archbishop, and did not dismiss them, Ekke Overbeek said.

The news in the Dutch public broadcaster NOS included archival research that Overbeek conducted for three years in Poland, where Pope John Paul II was born and archbishop.

According to the information based on the roommate of a priest named Eugeniusz Surgent, who was accused of child abuse, Surgent repeated the abuse although he apologized for it in the letter he wrote to John Paul II.

Another priest, accused of abusing children, also spoke to John Paul II.

"I found concrete cases of concrete priests in the Archdiocese of Krakow, where the future pope was archbishop, who abused children. The future pope knew about it and nevertheless transferred those men. That led to new victims," Overbeek told NOS.

“The reasoning of the church -- of the defenders of the pope -- boils down to the fact that he would not have known, that he understood the seriousness of the situation very late, and that he first thought it was America's problem. All those arguments can now be dropped," he added.

NOS reported that Overbeek prepared his research as a book which will be published in Polish soon.

Speaking on the book, Stanislaw Obirek, a Warsaw University professor, said the investigation “is true enough to destroy the myths that John Paul II was a saint in his youth.”