The Documentary Podcast
The Church of Denmark abuse scandal
How did a priest of the Church of Denmark manage to sexually abuse children for a decade without being detected? Gry Hoffmann investigates the case of Dan Peschack, who is now serving a 10-year prison sentence for the abuse of eight children.
Through interviews first recorded for Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s P1 documentary, she discovers “The Seducer” - a man who used his charisma and the power of his position in the Evangelical Lutheran state church to abuse children in the village of Tømmerup near Kalundborg on the west coast of Denmark. When Peschack was first arrested in 2016, many of the locals didn’t want to believe it, while others had been carrying a terrible secret for years.
In graphic accounts, which some listeners may find upsetting, victims describe their experience of Peschack’s abuse. One speaks of his shock at discovering the extent of the assaults and of his anger at the betrayal by a man who he thought was his friend. Parents who were suspicious regret their failure to act, while others realise they were duped into trusting their children to a paedophile.
Peschack’s appeal against his sentence has been rejected and he’s been banned from working as a priest, but have lessons been learned by the church authorities, whose priest inflicted on his victims such devastating harm?
Reporter: Gry Hoffmann
Producer: Sheila Cook
Editor: Bridget Harney
(Image: Tommerup town name road-sign with church in background. Credit: Gry Hoffmann)