Guðný Jóna Kristjánsdóttir’s story on RÚV’s news magazine Kastljós on Monday of how the residents of Húsavík turned against her after she filed charges for rape in 1999 have upset the Northeast Iceland community.
Húsavík. Photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.
One hundred and thirteen residents signed a declaration of support for the man who was convicted for the crime and the local priest, Sighvatur Karlsson, encouraged Guðný to drop the case. This has caused outrage in society and prompted many to apologize.
Jón Helgi Björnsson, who chairs Norðurþing district council, told Fréttablaðið it is positive that this case, which Húsavík residents have had on their conscience for 13 years, is being openly discussed.
“I thought Guðný was brave and it was good that she described her experience,” Jón Helgi commented.
Ordination Bishop of Hólar in North Iceland, Solveig Lára Guðmundsdóttir, met with Húsavík priest Sighvatur yesterday to discuss his work methods in Guðný’s case.
“We consider it a mistake,” Solveig told Morgunblaðið. “He has not violated any law.” She added that Sighvatur had called Guðný to ask her forgiveness for his mistake and that she had accepted his apology.
“It’s a mistake which he will learn from and hopefully others will too. Bishops will now improve work methods in pastoral care,” Solveig added. Bishop of Iceland Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir asked Solveig to talk with Sighvatur after this case came up.
Fréttablaðið talked with Húsavík residents yesterday and it is clear that they are still split in their attitudes towards the case. Sigurgeir Aðalsteinsson, the superior of the man convicted for raping Guðný, commented that there shouldn’t be any more coverage of it.
“It is also difficult for him,” Sigurgeir said of his subordinate. “It is difficult for the community, for him and many others. People don’t want to discuss it because they don’t want to bring it back up.”