The mystery unwinds: "Why didn't you call the police?"; “We were in shock”, and so on

The case of sexual abuse of girls at the Petnica Research Station is unraveling. The question also arises as to how no one from that station called the police.

Source: Blic
Ilustracija: Depositphotos/vkarafill
Ilustracija: Depositphotos/vkarafill

According to the testimonies for the weekly Vreme, five girls experienced sexual violence from the same abuser in this institution in the period from 2003 to 2014, "Blic" reported.

Weekly Vreme states that it is a matter of forcing underage and young adult girls to take photos without clothes, and the methods of the perpetrators ranged from manipulating the victims, to open coercion to drink alcohol, blackmail and threats... In two cases, there was physical aggression, and in one case, the victim was photographed in an unconscious state, "Blic" reported.

Nikola Božić, director of the Petnica Research Center, and Vigor Majić, founder and former director of Petnica, spoke for "Vreme" about these events and said that they had never attended the photo sessions that the otherwise controversial bully marked as S. was dealing with.

Bozic says he knows nothing about any 2014 incident. "I received the first information that something was happening in 2017, when I was already assistant director for programs. When that girl appeared, the conversation started with me, I immediately included Vigor Majić. S. was immediately removed from Petnica, and in 2018 his employment was terminated by mutual agreement", Božić says for Vreme.

When asked why the police were not called, Bozic said that there were no reports without the consent of the victim. When asked if they could report that there was a man in the Station who took photos of naked minors, Bozic said: "Honestly, we were in shock and we didn't think of that."

"It was a very difficult process, I was extremely shocked, I invited Vigor to come immediately, because he was not at the Station. What S. did, I can neither understand nor support, let alone hide. We were in a dilemma about resigning, because we thought that according to the Labor Law he would get back to work by the court order. So in the end, consensual termination of employment contract was agreed. I said then and I still think today: if Petnica should stand behind a person who claims something happened, Petnica will stand behind that person," Bozic said, adding:

"I also mean the people who contacted Vreme and everyone else. In 40 years, 4.000 seminars, 30.000 people, we are talking about one situation, and maybe there are others we don't know about," Božić says, among other things.

He also said that one or two girls called him, in addition to the incident from 2017, and that he heard from the managers that "S. was taking photos and that the children were bothered by that".

"We didn't hear anything about sexual abuse, but we did hear that it was uncomfortable, rude, that there were rude words. We had no idea that there was serious aggression and this (sexual violence). I haven't heard of any screaming and running out of the yard," claims Božić.

According to Vreme, Vigor Majić immediately talked to S., but he denied that there was anything other than problems with the texts, that the children had a hard time accepting his suggestions, and promised that there would be no more problems.

"At the time when we decided to evict him, he was close to 60 years old, he was returning to Valjevo, he lost his job. It is not easy to throw someone out on the street. I am not an expert, but it occurred to me whether I would carry his life on my conscience if I reacted too harsh. I was scared. But we decided that he should no longer have contact with children. Since 2014, he no longer ran programs, we just gave him to take care of 'Petnica Notebooks', he was very committed to that," Majic said for Vreme weekly.


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