Lithuania returns 5-year-old abuse victim to pimp mother
Allegations of a child-sex ring with high-level connections left Lithuanian society in shock. But that quickly turned to outrage after a young girl, was returned to the mother accused of selling her.
A court has ordered that the five-year-old girl be reunited with her mother. But protesters believe the woman pimped her daughter out to high-ranking Lithuanians.
They have surrounded the house in Lithuanian town of Kaunas and will not let anyone pass. They shout: “Down with officials,” and “God Save the Lithuanian Children.”
“If we save her, we will save our own children. I have a daughter myself, and here I am fighting not just for this child, but for my own as well,” protester Edmundas says.
The girl's father, Drasius Kedys, is dead. In 2008, the divorced businessman sent a confessional video to the Lithuanian authorities. In the video, his daughter described the abuse she had been forced to undergo.
Among those whom the girl's father accused of sexual abuse were a district court judge, and an owner of a large company. Despite a year of investigations, no charges have been filed.
On October 5, 2009, the accused judge and another woman allegedly involved in the underage sex ring were gunned down.
Drasius Kedys was the only suspect. The anti-pedophile vigilante became an anti-establishment icon and soon disappeared himself.
In late April he was found dead in a ditch near his hometown. Now, the girl's mother has become the official guardian.
“The girl doesn't want to be with her mother – she doesn't even want to visit her. She tells me this all the time,” the girl's Grandmother Laimute Kediene says.
The protesters are angry about the decision, but also that the alleged molesters of Kedys’ daughter are still free.
Authorities in Vilnius have criticized the vigilante protests.
“We want the people of our country to actually think about the interests of the child in question. We live in a lawful state, and court decisions must be obeyed,” Minister of Justice Remigijus Šimašius says.
The substance of Drasius Kedys' accusations, his possible links with local mafia, how he died, and if there has been a cover-up – these are all issues to which there have been no answers.
With Kedys dead, the truth may never be discovered.
But the protesters are angry, and the damage to the individuals involved, and to Lithuania as a whole, may be irreparable.