Monday, January 6, 2003

Polish community raising money for defense of accused priest.

The area's Polish community will raise money for the defense of a visiting Polish priest charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl he counseled at Sacred Heart Church.More than 150 members of the Polish community met over the weekend to set up an organization to oversee a defense fund for the Rev. Roman Kramek, The Herald of New Britain reported.The organization, temporarily named Polish Brotherly Help, also will consider paying Kramek's $500,000 bail.Kramek was arrested on Christmas Eve and charged with second-degree sexual assault for allegedly forcing himself on a girl he was counseling for a previous rape.According to court documents, Kramek admitted to the act, saying it was part of the counseling. He is being held on bond in a Hartford jail."It's our responsibility as Polish people to help this priest, because he is a fellow Pole," Lucyna Kolakowski, one of the organizers of the meeting, said.

"He is alone in this country, has no money, and is in a very difficult situation," Kolakowski said. "If it was anyone else, we would be meeting here to help them in the same way. If the Poles don't help this priest, nobody is going to help him. It's besides the point whether he's guilty or not."

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