At the time of the rape Magda was between 9 and 12 years old, while he was between 17 and 20. Kurski's son, Zdzisław Antoni Kurski, would regularly lock himself and Magda in the cabin's attic. Their parents thought they were playing board games there. Both families were very close friends. Magda's father was Jarosław Kurski's accredited assistant at the European Parliament.
Two years after these events, a 14-year-old Magda started harming herself and overdosing medicines. After a stay in a psychiatric ward, she confessed during a therapy session that she was molested in the past. She did not remember any more than that back then. The outpatient clinic where she was treated notified the family court, while her mother reached out to the police.
In 2015, the Prosecutor's Office in Kwidzyn initiated an investigation into "bringing a minor under the age of 15 to participate in a sexual act". After the Law and Justice party seized power and at a time Jacek Kurski became the chairman of TVP, the investigation was taken over by the District Prosecutor's Office in Gdańsk. Magda was asked to offer a testimony only once - back in 2015. The fifteen-year-old told the prosecutors that Zdzisław Antoni Kurski would put his hands under her skirt and "climbed her from behind". He denied it. The investigation was discontinued in 2017.
Magda's parents filed a complaint and the court ordered that the investigation be resumed, after which prosecutor Grażyna Wawryniuk, who conducted the investigation, discontinued the case for the second time last year. At that time, Magda, who was undergoing therapy, remembered more drastic details about what happened in the cabin (losing her virginity, as well as oral and anal rapes). However, she did not have the opportunity to testify again. At the beginning of July 2020, she sought contact with the media - this is how our investigation into the matter started
In an interview with “Wyborcza”, Magda's father, a politician close to the ruling said that Jacek Kurski insisted on ending the case.
- Already in the second half of 2015, just after the fact of harassment was reported to the police by my wife and to the family court by Magda's therapist, Jacek Kurski suggested to me through a common acquaintance that I should influence my daughter to withdraw her testimony. He passed the question on to me whether "there is any room for negotiation in this case" - Magda's father claims.
Jacek Kurski and the prosecutor’s office are going after the victim
According to him, this was not the only attempt on the side of Kurski to kill the case: - On 4 June 2019, in the office of Prime Minister Morawiecki, Jacek Kurski demanded from me that Magda refrain from blaming his son. I have a suspicion that I was fired from the state-owned company Enspirion because of the former chairman of TVP, who told my boss that I was lazy and not worth hiring. When I moved on to work at PGNiG [another state-owned company] the same thing happened to me.
From the moment we started working on Magda’s story, we knew that Jacek Kurski, his son, and the entire ruling camp would deny it and turn to slandering the victim. As predicted, they are already doing it. Zdzisław Antoni's father accuses Magda's father of being motivated by a petty desire for revenge. He accuses him of lying and of alcoholism.
The prosecutor's office defends itself by attacking Gazeta Wyborcza. The same prosecutor's office whose role is to ensure that criminals are brought to justice and their guilt evaluated by the court, and yet in Magda's case focused almost entirely on challenging her "inconsistent" testimony, despite the opinion of expert witnesses which corroborated her credibility. The prosecutor's office never even gave Magda a chance to testify again during a second investigation. Just as the perpetrator's father, it decided that Magda should not be believed.
Poland is abandoning the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence
Magda and her family could have simply decided to remain silent. Pragmatically speaking, their decision to come forward and talk about Magda's traumatic past did not "pay off" at all. They are a much weaker side facing a very powerful enemy. They knew that they would be accused of having petty motives, acting out of hostile political inspiration, of neglecting legal steps and of lying, of going to the newspaper that is in open conflict with the ruling camp, namely "Gazeta Wyborcza".
Polish law enforcement authorities are not particularly sensitive to such cases in general, even putting aside the political context of this particular tragedy. They routinely refuse to believe the victims. They assure of strict prosecution of paedophilia and rape, but the actions do not confirm their zeal in these cases. Such an approach is now very openly supported by the government, which has just announced that it will terminate the Istanbul Convention against domestic violence. Although child abuse and rape very often occur in families and by people close to the victims, from whom it is difficult to defend oneself.
However, it is the role of decent journalists to try to help the victim and family in such a dramatic and unjust situation. Żaneta Gotowalska and Piotr Głuchowski's account is extremely well documented. Yes, it is drastic, because this case is drastic. And it is all the more shocking because in our opinion the law enforcement agencies did not do everything they could and should. And, unfortunately, it is likely that this was influenced by the position of the father of the man Magda blames for her childhood harm.
We consider it important and necessary to disclose this matter, just as we do with many other injustices faced by the helpless, weaker, vulnerable people who were abandoned or harmed by the state institutions. We consider it our responsibility to give voice to their stories on our pages.
Magda is waiting for justice. Will the day ever come?