On August 19, 1981, a group of young people from Vilnius, over twenty individuals, came to the village of Mindūnai in Molėtai Rayon and asked for lodgings at the home of [Miss] Monika Klimaitė. The purpose of the outing was to relax and at the same time gain a deeper understanding of religion. The youngsters were accompanied by Father Ričardas Černiauskas, assistant pastor of St. Nicholas Church in Vilnius.
On the first day some of the young people helped their hostess bring in the hay while others spread the hay on the barn floor. In the evening they all gathered near the barn and knelt on the grass for evening prayer. They slept in the barn. The girls assembled in one part of the barn, while the boys occupied the other part. Several adults stayed with them.
On August 20 the young people prayed, participated in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and listened to the priest's homily. During their free time they played soccer, water polo, and swam in the lake. That evening, following the Vatican Radio broadcast, several terrified girls ran up to the priest and told him the police had arrived. The priest calmed the frightened girls, telling them they had done nothing wrong and no one would touch them.
Four people had arrived, two civilians and two policemen. One of the civilians identified himself as the chief of the Molėtai Internal Affairs Department (Lip-nickas). He was quite inebriated.
"Who are you and why have you gathered here?" The chief began to question them.
"You're drunk! How can we discuss anything with you?" the priest replied.
The chief grabbed the priest by the sleeve, saying,"Let's go into the yard!" In the yard he started to interrogate: "Who are you? Let's go to headquarters for an explanation!"
"I won't go anywhere with you while you're drunk," said the priest.
The chief then ordered the policemen to summon a squad from Molėtai, and they left. The chief demanded something to smoke and drink. When he heard that these young people had neither tobacco nor alcohol, the chief blurted out, "I'm going to put these nondrinking, nonsmoking youths behind bars!"
While waiting for the squad, the young people gathered in the barn and discussed what they should do. Why were they being besieged? Perhaps these were disguised hooligans. They had committed no crime and, if these really were policemen, everything could be cleared up here. At about 10 p.m. seven vehicles and a large group of policemen arrived. Several vehicles turned their lights on the barn. The boys stood at the door while the girls huddled on the hay. Approaching the young men, the police did not present a prosecutor's warrant. One of them, noticing an older man (a father) among the teenagers, pounced upon him shouting, "That's the pastor! Grab him! Kill him!"
The police made towards their victim while the boys linked arms and tried to prevent his capture. The girls screamed, and the boys grappled with the police. They were unevenly matched, however, and the teenagers were forced into a covered truck. The police acted very brutally, punching the boys in the sides and the kidneys. Bringing a victim to the vehicle, they grabbed him by the hair, arms, and legs and threw him inside. Father Ričardas Černiauskas was also thrown into the vehicle, his arms twisted behind him, his pants torn. Then it was the girls' turn. At first one of them resisted, and she was then attacked as though by a pack of hungry wolves. But the girl stated she would go on her own. As the girls were taken to a separate vehicle, the policemen shone flashlights in the eyes of some and spat on their mouths. The officials climbed into the vehicle and forced the girls into one corner. One of the policemen looking at one of the girls sneered:
"You're not bad. Lie down!"
After taking them all to the Molėtai Police Department, they proceeded with the interrogation.
They started with the girls, calling them in individually, asking who had organized the outing and whether they had prayed. The girls were questioned by drunk men who, even during the interrogation, periodically went into another room from which they returned smelling of alcohol. The interrogation procedure was more akin to a savage terrorization by hooligans than to the official work of Soviet employees. Throughout the interrogation, the officials acted very viciously, smashing their fists on the table, frightening the girls, shouting:
"All of us will take turns raping you. You won't want to take any more vacations!"
The policemen themselves wrote statements for the youngsters containing many filthy lies and forced the youngsters to sign these "documents."
What is the worth of such statements when they are written by a strange hand and signed under duress?
As the oldest one of the girls, [Miss] Liongina Achranavičiūtė, a nurse at the Naujoji Vilnia Psychiatric Hospital, was interrogated from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. The entire time, they kept shouting at her:
"You prostitute! You have a venereal disease! You're a debauchee! We'll hand you over to Bokštas Street (a street in Vilnius, the location of a venereal disease dispensary). Do you know what we're going to do with you? We'll all take turns raping you, and me you'll have repeatedly/' roared the drunken officer.
There was one"kindhearted" individual who suggested, "Better give her to me to take home alone . . ."
The Internal Affairs Department Chief asked her, "Where do you work?"
"In a hospital, as a nurse," answered the young woman.
"Oh! A nurse! We know about you nurses. Lithuania has plenty like you. Do you know of Vitamin E? Do you know what it is used for? That's why you went to nursing school, so that you could give the boys Vitamin E and have them lie in the hay with the girls."
Achranavičiūtė and all the other girls were constantly threatened with rape. Furthermore, all the girls were taken to a gynecologist. He treated them very crudely at first. Several of the girls demanded a woman doctor. Of course, no woman doctor was summoned for them, but they were then examined by a nurse. What right did the officials have to take the completely innocent girls to a gynecologist? Most of the girls were underage. What law of the jungle were the "keepers of the peace" following?
Then came the boys' turn. The same questions followed as were asked of the girls, the same viciousness and intimidation. They even dared to threaten one boy, "We'll shoot you!"
The last one summoned was Father Černiauskas. He was first taken to the chief's office, where eight persons had assembled: some were plainclothesmen, others wore military uniforms, still others police uniforms. The chief asked,
"Who are you?"
"Who organized the outing?"
"God! When youth believes, it is very easy to organize."
"What's this? What are you involved in? If you're a priest, then sit in church and pray. You bedded down the boys and the girls in one barn!"
"I organized this outing to tell the young people more about God, to discuss various questions of faith and atheism."
The interrogator asked what they had planned to do next, where they would have gone (it was just before the procession to Šiluva), and when they had planned to return.
Interrogator Navikas wrote everything down. He then took the priest's fingerprints and examined his teeth. The chief told the priest, "Since you have no personal documents on you, you'll be held."
It was nearly dawn when the priest rejoined the young people.
Following the interrogation, they were all separated into several different rooms. The youngsters awaited morning dozing on chairs. Everyone's name and address were recorded, and Vilnius was immediately informed. The parents were notified to pick up their children on August 21. Some of the children were interrogated repeatedly.
In the morning two persons, a young man and a woman, arrived from Vilnius. The first was probably a Chekist, while the woman was an inspector from the juvenile section of the police department. The woman spoke with the children while the Chekist questioned the priest a second time. One of his questions was, "If someone comes to confession and tells you he killed someone, do you notify the police?"
The Chekist asked what the priest had come for and how he had organized everything. Did he pray with the young people? Did he offer mass, etc.
The priest was arrested following the second interrogation. His belt, watch, money, and personal articles were confiscated, and he was only allowed to keep his handkerchiefs. A policeman pulled open a desk drawer and pinting to some handcuffs told the priest, "These are waiting!"
All the youngsters were assembled and taken to Vilnius soon after. There they were sent to various police stations, and that was where their parents had to go to pick them up.
The priest was left behind in Molėtai. At around 9 p.m. he was taken to the Utena Police Station in a police vehicle. Before that, the priest was interrogated for a third time by a woman who was the acting prosecutor.
When they brought Father Černiauskas to Utena, they locked him alone in a basement cell, in a room where the sun is never seen, the bunks are entirely bare of bedding, and a light constantly shines. They kept him there until4:40 p.m. on August 26. Father Černiauskas was not interrogated in Utena. As he was being released, they ordered him to report to the Molėtai Police Department at 10 a.m., on August 27, with his personal documents.
The next day, when Father Černiauskas arrived in Molėtai, the Deputy Police Chief was rather polite. He took the priest to the documents section. Here a form was filled out to the effect that the priest would be fined for not registering with the city of Vilnius. When he asked what the Fine would be and when, the priest received the following response:
"Everything will be forwarded to Vilnius; the decision will be made there."
The priest was then set free.
With Father Černiauskas under arrest, the faithful of St. Nicholas Parish went into action. Everybody discussed what was to be done. They prayed, sought information, and patiently awaited his return.
The authorities did not inform them that the priest had been arrested. On August 22 the priest's elderly housekeeper took food to the Lukiškės prison believing that she would find him there. No one told her anything definite and simply sent her from one place to another. One priest went to the Molėtai Police Department and was also unable to learn anything about where Father Černiauskas was being held.
On August 25 the housekeeper again went out in search of the arrested priest, wanting to give him some food. She went to the Lukiškės prison. She did not find him there. She then went to see the Security Committee, and the security police denied knowing anything.
Finally he returned. He did not look too well. He had not washed for six days and had not shaved. His clothes were torn, but he was in good spirits. Every day he had been given the following food rations: breakfast, tea and bread; lunch, soup and bread; supper, tea and bread.
That Sunday people flocked to St. Nicholas Church as if on an important feast day. When, following the petitions, Father Černiauskas mounted the pulpit to give the sermon, 1 he faithful began to throw flowers straight into the pulpit. The priest thanked the people for their prayers, told the story of his arrest, and urged the victimized young people not to fear making sacrifices for Christ. The people began to weep aloud when the young priest warned the faithful:
"I feel I will not be forgiven for saying these truthful words. Therefore, if someone were to kill me, hang me, say I have a venereal disease, fake my suicide, affect me with drugs, or commit me to a psychiatric hospital, you will know whose work it was. I became a priest to speak the truth, to speak about God, and I will speak about God not only in church, as the police ordered me, but in the churchyard as well; not only in the churchyard, but everywhere I am: in a barn, in a meadow, at a lake, on a lake, and even at the bottom of a lake . . ."
Following the sermon, the deeply moved believers, not knowing how to express their love and solidarity for the priest, began to applaud loudly and long, and as the priest stepped from the pulpit, the victimized young people and children handed him masses of flowers, which he took directly to the altar.
On August 18, 1981, about a dozen believing students of the Kybartai Secondary School left on a tour of the Dzukija area. Two adults, [Miss] Ona Šarauskaitė and IMiss] Bernadeta Mališkaitė, participated. The tourists were followed from the very beginning. On August 20 they were detained at the Šlavantai bus station by several policemen and civilians. Without identifying themselves, the assailants began to push the students onto a bus and took them to the Lazdijai Police Department. The Deputy Police chief, Major Vytautas Petruskevičius, questioned the children, especially about whether they believe and pray and whether they were planning to participate in the religious procession to Šiluva. Some of the children were even questioned twice. The students were released after two hours of interrogation.
Major Petruškevičius attempted to convince Ona Šarauskaitė and Bernadeta Mališkaitė that they were being held because they had crossed into the border zone and because local residents had complained about the group's improper behavior. Since this was a blatant lie, Major Petruskevičius blurted out, "Dear girls, you won't see Šiluva!" and sent the prisoners to Jasinskas, the officer on duty to lock them into a cell. Police Officer Jasinskas was crude not only with the young women but also with his own staff. Šarauskaitė and Mališkaitė were searched and shoved into a cell without a prosecutor's warrant. The walls of the cell were covered with obscenities and flies, and the air was hideous. Their combs and towels were confiscated, and they were allowed outside for barely five minutes at a time. It was under such conditions that Šarauskaitė and Mališkaitė, both completely innocent, were held until 3:30 p.m. on August 23.