Croatia: Priest detained on pedophile charges
* Posted in the Croatia Forum
14 June 2007 | 13:01 | Source: AP
ZAGREB -- A priest from a small Croatian island has been detained on suspicion of abusing five boys aged between ten and 12.
The case is the second in recent years in the predominantly Roman Catholic Croatia, police said Thursday.
Drago Ljubičić, 63, who served on the northern island of Rab, was detained Wednesday evening on charges of performing "lecherous acts" on five children, police said in a statement.
The case has shocked Croatia, where nearly 90 percent of the country's 4.5 million people consider themselves Catholics and the church enjoys wide government and popular support.
The spokesman for the regional diocese, Danijel Delonga, said the church would take appropriate measures against Ljubičić if the suspicions are confirmed. "Such acts are shameless treason of a priest's vocation," he said.
Ljubičić’s case is the second of alleged pedophilia among priests in Croatia.
In 2003, a priest from Zagreb was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison for abusing 13 girls. His sentence was later reduced to three months on probation, a ruling critics said showed the judiciary's reluctance to go against the church.