A police investigation has been launched after a series of disturbing photos emerged showing schoolchildren licking whipped cream from the knee of a Polish priest.
The images - which are apparently part of an 'initiation ceremony' at Salesians High School in Lubin, southern Poland - show both male and female 13-year old pupils taking part in the bizarre practice.
Father Marcin Kozyra, who is also the school's principal, has defended his actions by saying such ceremonies for first year pupils have been an annual event for many years.
The pupils are shown kneeling around Father Kozyra as they watch each other lick cream from his bare knee.
Other photos show the students crawling up the stairs in a single file on their hands and knees.
'This is very disturbing,' said Marek Michalak, the Polish government's spokesman on child affairs, reported The Telegraph.
'Surely the boundaries of decency and acceptable forms of bodily contact have been exceeded. I've ordered an enquiry and demanded an explanation from all relevant authorities.'
While some people have expressed shock over the pictures, which were posted on the school’s website, the parents of some pupils have come out in support of the priest.
In a letter of defence they claimed that the whipped cream was actually shaving foam and nobody was forced to eat it.
The priest sits in an armchair as the young girls kneel in front of him.
'The children were manipulated into this. Limits were exceeded. But not, it appears, with any other intention other than having fun,' she said, adding that 'parents should talk to the children' about the photos.
Local prosecutors launched an investigation after the photos were picked up by the national media ( via dailymail.co.uk ).