Polish priest blames 'devil' as he's confronted by alleged victim whose life was ruined

Anna Misiewicz with Father A, her alleged abuser during her first Holy Communion.

(CNN)"Father, I wanted to look you in the eye ... I wanted to ask you why?" demands Anna Misiewicz as she confronts the parish priest she says abused her when she was just 7 and 8 years old.

"You touched me where you were not supposed to, my private parts," Misiewicz says, matter-of-factly, telling him that his actions "really scarred my adult life deeply."
"I still have nightmares ... I am unable to sleep at night," she tells her alleged abuser. "I still carry it inside me."
    The elderly man she is addressing exhales and shifts in his orange-and-brown-striped chair, as a religious service plays out on a TV nearby, in a home for retired priests in Kielce, central Poland.
    The priest, identified only as Father Jan A., has never been charged with abuse. He pauses briefly, before saying: "I should never have done it, I should not have touched or kissed you ... I know I shouldn't have."
    "I regret it profoundly," he says, insisting that he has reformed in the three decades since the alleged episode detailed by Misiewicz. "It was the devil who took his toll."
    The pair's troubling meeting was captured on secretly filmed footage that is at the heart of "Tell No One," a new documentary that has sent shockwaves through the Polish Catholic Church and wider society in the deeply religious nation.
    Since its release on YouTube on May 11 the film, which details decades of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Poland and shows victims confronting their alleged abusers, has been viewed more than 20 million times.

    'Erosion' of Catholic Church

    The Catholic Church -- and its priests -- enjoys a revered status and wields serious influence in Poland, where more than 90% of the country's population is registered as Catholic.
    The Church has long held powerful ties to politics; together with the late Polish Pope John Paul II, it is widely hailed for its opposition to the Communist regime that collapsed in 1989.
    Marcin Zaborowski, political analyst at Visegrad Insight, told CNN the Catholic Church has been "fundamental" to Polish society. "The Church is part and parcel of Polish politics," he said.
    "The current government will find it difficult to distance itself from the Catholic Church," Zaborowski added. Only a week before the film was released, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the conservative ruling Law and Justice Party, said: "Anyone who raises his hand against the church, wants to destroy it, raises his hand against Poland." After seeing the documentary, he clarified his remarks at a rally, saying: "That does not mean that we support or tolerate pathology in the Church."
    But Zaborowski said the film "could be a game changer," adding that it had "started the erosion of the position of the Catholic Church in Poland."
    The case that's created the biggest outcry since the film's publication is that of Father Franciszek Cybula, the priest of Lech Walesa, leader of anti-Communist movement Solidarity in the 1980s.
    Confronted on the doorstep of a small, white house in Gowidlino, a village in northern Poland, Cybula is accused of abusing a 12-year-old boy, decades earlier. Cybula, who is unaware he is being filmed, admits he touched the boy in a sexual manner but tries to downplay his actions.
    "There was a moment of caressing and then we went back to our daily business," he says, arguing that "it never exceeded any inappropriateness," and suggesting that the pair had "fondled" each other mutually. Cybula died before the documentary finished production.
    Poland's prosecutor general has issued an investigation into the alleged crimes detailed in the film.
    "Tell No One" director Tomasz Sekielski told CNN he felt compelled to bring the sexual abuse to public attention after meeting several victims during his career as a journalist.
    "The horror of their stories stayed with me, and I knew that I wanted to do something more on the subject; that's why my brother and I decided to make the film."
    Alleged abuse carried out by the priest of Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, pictured, has caused an outcry in Poland.