Serbian ex-priest accuses his Bishop of pedophilia

Author: Harun
Date Published: 07/04/2011

A former Serb Orthodox priest has made serious allegations of pedophilia against the Bishop of Zvornik and Tuzla (eastern Bosnia), Vladika Vasilije (Kacavenda).

”I can no longer remain silent,” said the 36-year-old former priest Bojan Jovanovic on Thursday in a long statement to the radio station in Sarajevo, which was subsequently taken up by local print media.

The former priest Bojan Jovanovic, who spent three years in the Diocese of Zvornik and Tuzla, maintains that Vladika Kacavenda tried to rape him too.

Jovanovic noted in his statement about regular feasts in the luxurious residence of Vladika Kacavenda in Bijeljina. He was told to find boys under eleven, to serve Kacavenda. Also, he was told they should be children from poor backgrounds or orphans, so that they have no one to talk and complain about their treatment, Jovanovic said.

One of the young priests Milic Blazenovic, who refused to sleep with Kacavenda and was to talk about that was latter killed by a bombin the Monastery Paparc, next to Sekovici in Bosnia. That was later officially declared as suicide, but Jovanovic rejects that and claims that priest was actually eliminated.

”That was not suicide for sure,” said the former priest who now lives in his hometown, Belgrade. Jovanovic announced that in September he is planning to publish a book in which he will describe the events in the diocese and offer his profs to the public.

In his interview with Sarajevo’s Radio station, Jovanovic said he tried to report Kacavenda to authorities, from the police, state security services to Serbian president Tadic, but after the initial interest they all decided to do nothing about it. He is now planning to take his fight to expose immorality of Serbian Church officials to Europe.

Jovanovic also claims that, first Communist and then current Serbian state secret services knew about Kacevenda and used his secrets to recruit his to work for them under the code name ”Pablo.” That is why Jovanovic says to be concerned for own safety.

”It is high time that somebody touches on the issue of pedophilia in the Serbian Orthodox Church,” said the Jovanovic’s lawyer, Dusko Tomic, in a telephone conversation with APA on Thursday. Tomic said that he talked by phone to Vladika Kacavenda on Wednesday evening and advised him to hire a good lawyer. Tomic described the manuscript of recordings of Vladika’s conversations with Jovanovic as most ”morbid” words that he had ever read.

Serbian Church Reaction

The office of Kacavenda said on Thursday afternoon in a press release published by the Serbian Orthodox Church on its Internet portal said that it will not talk to media and those ”that live by scandal and gossip” and is looking for its day in court to prove his innocence e. The media reports of pedophilia were referred to in the release as ”unexamined, malicious and slanderous rumors.”

”Who is in this case, the damaged and vulnerable side – either Bojan Jovanovic or Vladika Vasil (Kacavenda) – will is be clear only after the court ruling” in the future it was also stated in the press release. The fact that Jovanovic is noted as individual, while Kacavenda is noted with his official title could be an indication that Serbian Church stands behind its priest fully.

As Bosnian media report that Kacavenda recently visited Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik to talk about unrelated issues. During the war in Bosnia, Orthodox Bishop was seen on many photos and videos as close to Karadzic, Mladic and other Serbian war leaders.

Kacavenda remained on high positions in the Serbian Church hierarchy despite seriousness of accusations and potential harm to the Serbian Church. Some local observers note his close contacts with many officials to be the invisible support behind the suspected Bishop.

In the last ten years two pedophilia trials against Serbian Orthodox dignitaries were conducted in Serbia. One ended in 2007, with the acquittal of the accused priest and another case dismissed because the limitation period expired.