Zagreb: The Croatian Catholic Church has found one of its priests guilty of sexually abusing minors, the first such ruling in the staunchly Catholic nation.
The head of Croatia`s Bishops Conference, Archbishop Zelimir Puljic, told Croatian state TV late yesterday that the Rev Nedeljko Ivanov was ordered to apologise to the victims and must donate part of his pension to charity. He is allowed to celebrate Mass only inside his retirement home, but cannot perform any other priestly duty.
The case emerged two years ago when Ivanov was accused by people who as children had been in the priest`s congregation in Bibinje, near Croatia`s Adriatic coast.
Ivanov cannot be tried by Croatia`s judiciary because the alleged abuse occurred in 1980s and 1990s.
The priest had no comment on the ruling.