Ex-Priest Jailed for 4 Years After Sexually Abusing 8-Year-Old Girl in Preska, Near Medvode

By , 10 Aug 2018, 14:37 PM News
Franc Klopčič Franc Klopčič From the embedded Twitter post

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STA, 10 August 2018 - A higher court has sentenced former priest Franc Klopčič to four years in prison for sexual abuse of an eight-year-old girl, the newspapers Delo and Slovenske Novice reported on Friday. The priest's lawyer announced an appeal to the Supreme Court. 

Klopčič, who served as priest in Preska near Medvode, was acquitted by the Ljubljana District Court in March 2017 after the scandal broke out in 2012. The abuse reportedly happened almost a decade earlier.

But the prosecution appealed and the higher court found the defendant guilty as charged in a ruling that is not final yet. One of the priest's lawyers Jože Hribernik told the STA today that the defence would take the case to the Supreme Court.

The prosecution claims the abuse of the eight-year-old happened at the end of 2004 or early 2005 during religious education.

The alleged crime was hidden for almost a decade, because the girl did not tell anyone about it until a boy approached her at a psychiatric clinic where she stayed at the time, which triggered the memory of the alleged abuse by the priest.

The girl spoke about it with her doctor, who informed the police. As an investigation was launched against Klopčič the Church suspended him.

The district court judge said the girl described the incident "as though it had happened in her dreams" but noted that there were too many gaps in her testimony and links to her family problems.

The judge acknowledged that a traumatic experience must have caused the dream but noted that nobody, not even the girl's mother, saw any signs of distress on the girl at the time of the alleged abuse.

After the attack, the girl was paralysed from her waist down at school and had to be hospitalised but doctors blamed her domestic situation for her condition.

The district court argued that the prosecution's case was inconsistent, and that it was not clear from the evidence presented whether the incident indeed took place or not. It also said that the testimonies of witnesses and the victim did not match.

The higher court, meanwhile, arrived at a completely different conclusion based on the same evidence and found the defendant guilty as charged, sentencing him to four years.

Klopčič will, however, not start serving the sentence until the ruling becomes final.

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