Polish paedophile priest jailed for 8.5 years

A Polish court on Monday sentenced a Roman Catholic priest to eight-and-a-half years in jail for sexually abusing underage boys.

The 49-year-old, who was only identified as Slawomir S. because of privacy laws, had abused five boys under the age of 15, the Polish PAP news agency reported.

The priest, from a village parish in central Poland, was arrested in April 2012 after one of the boys said he had been abused.

The court in the town of Rawa Mazowiecka also banned the priest, who had lent his victims cash and helped pay their phone bills, from ever teaching children.

Dozens of parishioners turned up outside the court for the closed-door trial to defend their priest, who pleaded not guilty.

Poland's influential Catholic Church has been hit with a string of child sex allegations this year.

In September, prosecutors began probes against two high-profile Polish priests suspected of having sex with boys.

They are 65-year-old archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who served as a papal envoy in the Dominican Republic's Santo Domingo, and 36-year-old Wojciech Gil, who also served on the Caribbean island.