Prosecutor Dainius Kunigėlis has been accused of taking a young man whose case he was prosecuting to a country house, purportedly to seek sexual favours. After the story broke, Kunigėlis handed in a resignation, which has yet to be accepted.
“The prosecutor has been suspended from his duties, and preliminary pre-trial investigation steps were taken yesterday,” Prosecutor General Nida Grunskienė told reporters on Friday.
According to the story reported by Delfi.lt, Kunigėlis made inappropriate advances to a 19-year-old identified as Mantas. The latter was a defendant in a case Kunigėlis was prosecuting, accused of stealing money from a priest. The priest, Vilnius Archdiocese chancellor Kęstutis Palikša, has been in turn accused by Mantas of sexually abusing him as a minor.
Kunigėlis was in charge of the investigation and later represented the state in the criminal case in which Palikša was deemed the victim. The young man had accused the priest of sexual abuse and stole 7,000 euros from him, and the priest turned to the police.
According to Delfi.lt, Mantas told law enforcement authorities he had had an intimate relationship with Palikša when he was 15 years old. He also claimed he had been receiving very large sums of money for several years.
The website also reported that Palikša previously faced charges of forcing the minor to have sexual intercourse and that pornographic images of adolescents aged 14-18 were found on his tablet.
In the end, however, the prosecution service dropped the charges after failing to prove that the young man had actually been forced to have sex. He had a close relationship with the cleric who would regularly give him money.
As regards the possession of pornographic material, Palikša pleaded guilty and was fined 4,000 euros.
The young man, Mantas, however, was convicted of theft. After the verdict was issued and came into force, prosecutor Kunigėlis allegedly offered the young man to meet and took him to a country house, Delfi.lt reported.
During the trip, Mantas secretly recorded his conversation with the prosecutor, in which the latter took interest in the young man’s sexual orientation and indicated he himself was attracted to men.
He also discussed Mantas’ case, saying he was reluctant to prosecute him and criticising the work of the judicial panel.
The recording also suggests that Kunigėlis offered Mantas to spend the night at the country house, but the young men refused and left.
When approached by Delfi.lt, the prosecutor denied the allegations and called the young man’s testimony a fabrication. However, he refused to comment further after hearing that the conversation had been recorded.
On Thursday, the Prosecutor General’s Office said it had opened a pre-trial investigation into abuse of office and possible ill-treatment of a participant in the proceedings by a prosecutor of the Vilnius District Prosecutor’s Office. It did not, however, name the prosecutor.
Earlier, the Prosecutor’s Office said Grunskienė had instructed the Department for Criminal Prosecution of the Prosecutor General’s Office to thoroughly examine the materials of another pre-trial investigation handled by the prosecutor, launched in connection with possible sexual offenses committed against a minor.
The prosecution service confirmed that it had received Kunigėlis’ request to be dismissed but said the request had not been accepted yet.
“It should be noted that granting such a request does not suspend investigations and does not limit the possibility of imposing official or other liability and sanction on a person, if there are grounds to do so,” the service said.