A husband and wife from central Pennsylvania filed suit in Bucks County Court on Wednesday, claiming that the woman was abused by a priest from the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, and that the Philadelphia Archdiocese, the shrine, and its priests, the Pauline Fathers, allowed the priest to flee to Poland after she reported the incident.
The suit claims the Rev. Marek Lacki befriended the couple - parents of eight children - at a weekend retreat in March 2012, then encouraged the wife to visit the shrine for private counseling. When she did, the suit says, Lacki took her into a private room and raped her. Despite her reporting the incident to a friend in the church, the suit says, and the complaint's eventually making its way through the archdiocese and to law enforcement, no action was taken against Lacki, and he subsequently fled to Poland, where he was born.
The archdiocese, through a spokesperson, declined to comment on Wednesday. Messages left for the shrine and the Pauline Fathers were not immediately returned.
At a news conference Wednesday, the couple's lawyers, Marci Hamilton and Daniel Monahan, also claimed that the Bucks County District Attorney's Office failed to properly investigate the claims once the archdiocese made the District Attorney's Office aware of them, as is standard archdiocese policy.
District Attorney David Heckler refuted those claims, saying that the matter was investigated with New Britain Township police, and that ultimately, "there wasn't a proper basis for prosecution."
"Let's just say that we did not deem the allegations credible," he said, adding that "the facts are so sketchy here."