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Bambini di Praga choirmaster leaves prison early

Bohumil Kulínský has been released from prison after serving half of a 5.5-year sentence for abusing underage Czech girls under his care

Kulínský was convicted for abusing dozens of girls in his choir between 1984 and 2003 | na serveru Lidovky.cz | aktuální zprávy Kulínský was convicted for abusing dozens of girls in his choir between 1984 and 2003 | foto: © ČTKČeská pozice
Kulínský was convicted for abusing dozens of girls in his choir between 1984 and 2003

Bohumil Kulínský, the long-serving choirmaster of the world-renowned Bambini di Praga children’s choir, has been released from a Prague prison midway through his five and a half year sentence for abusing 19 girls under his charge — including eight who were under the Czech legal age of consent of 15. “He left through the prison gates on June 21,” Ruzyň prison spokeswoman Pavla Bohatová told the daily Právo.

Lawyers for Kulínský, who continues to deny the charges, had successfully petitioned the Prague 6 District Court to grant him conditional early release — as part of his sentence, he is banned from working with young people for 10 years after leaving prison. Although the State Prosecutor’s Office had filed a complaint against the court’s decision, the complaint was likely withdrawn, the daily said.

“Yes, I hinted that they should withdraw the complaint. How it ended up, I don’t know,” Prague 6 district representative Jindra Janáčová told Právo. Earlier reports had said the Prague Municipal Court was to rule on the complaint. Kulínský declined to comment: “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to talk to you,” he said when contacted on his mobile telephone.

Between 1984 and 2003 Kulínský abused underage choir members at various outings, out-of-town rehearsals and while on foreign tours, witnesses and victims testified. He was also alleged to have had full intercourse with a number of the girls, despite knowing full well they were underage.

The Bambini di Praga choir was founded by Kulínský’s parents in 1973. He began working there at the age of 16 and is widely credited with building up its international reputation for excellence. His two ex-wives are both former Bambini di Praga members.