Croatia: Prime Minister’s wife’s conflict of interests and sex education in schools

Timothy Tate and Judith Reisman   Photo: Boris Kovacev/Cropix

Timothy Tate and Judith Reisman Photo: Boris Kovacev/Cropix

Croatian association “Parents’ Voice For Children” (GROZD) has, according to news portal, 11 February, sent Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic an open letter in which it seeks the convening of an extraordinary Government meeting. GROZD seeks the exclusion of Professor Aleksandar Stulhofer from the government’s advisory committee on sex education in schools program and an investigation into the matter of seeing whether Prof. Stulhofer is associated with exposing children to pornography and the spreading of pedophilia in the Republic of Croatia.

Remove from duties the Minister for Science, Education and Sport, Mr Jovanovic, and prevent him from working in any similar position within the government of the Republic of Croatia because, due to many omissions in his work unscientific program that rests upon gender ideology and follows the directions of the World Congress of Sexologists which, among other things, promotes pedophilia, has been introduced in all schools in Croatia”, the open letter says.

According to portal, GROZD also seeks the annulment of Minister Jovanovic’s decision that makes the health education program mandatory for all school students. It also states that Stulhofer, besides being a scholar and an associate of the Kinsey Institute in U.S.A., has been collaborating for many years with persons who are declared pedophiles. GROZD emphasises that Stulhofer was against the raising of the legal age from 14 to 16 for sexual intercourse with adults in Croatia.

GROZD offered a warning, once again, that Stulhofer has introduced topics into sex education curriculum that give space for the promotion of pedophilia and endangerment of children who are entrusted to the education system of Croatia.

We take the liberty to ask you to withdraw your wife, dr. Music Milanovic, from the government’s advisory committee on the development of the curriculum because it is a fact that she is one of five members of that committee, possibly giving a false credibility to Prof. Stulhofer and to the non-scientific and ideological foundations of the school program”, concludes GROZD in its letter to Prime Minister Milanovic.

Whether Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic’s wife’s role in the government’s advisory committee on school curriculum for health (sex) education constitutes a serious conflict of interest in action is a matter that I cannot go into because I do not possess any factual information as to the workings of this committee and into any safety or precautionary procedures that may be in place to avoid detrimental effects conflict of interest may have on the sex education program introduced as mandatory component of school education in Croatia. However, when considering conflict of interest one must not only look at the actual situation of conflict of interests but also the “perceived” conflict of interest must also be eliminated. Judging from the Parents’ association GROZD letter to the Prime Minister there is no doubt that perceived conflict of interest exists in the minds of the stakeholders and the public when it comes to the  mandatory sex education in schools curriculum. This, in any fair and true democracy must be avoided and it would seem to me that Zoran Milanovic’s wife should resign her position on the committee as a matter of decency towards the public’s perception and fears; as a matter of furthering democracy in Croatia.

The fact that the sex education in Croatian schools was introduced without adequate (or any) public/parent consultation is a tragedy for the relatively young democracy.  It has brought serious rifts between the Church and the state,
it has seen the harshest (without reasonable foundation) of disciplining of journalist Karolina Vidovic Kristo, it has seen barrages of offensive remarks against dr. Judith Reisman, but it has also brought home the realisation that Croatia has a long way to go in its path of building democracy into all facets of public life.

British investigative journalist and filmmaker summarises the issues of and around the mandatory sex education program in Croatian schools in the video clip below:

Disciplining of journalist Karolina Vidovic Kristo for simply offering to the public information associated with sex education in school is, as Timothy Tate says: “…indicative of a mentality which is not democratic, which is not comfortable with difficult facts brought out into the public arena. You can’t stop free speech if you want to be a democracy. It would be unthinkable in Britain for the Prime Minister of Britain to stand up in parliament, as your Prime Minister stood up in parliament, and essentially trash the reputation of a journalist for bringing to light of something that should be brought to light ”.

Indeed! But then the wife of the British, the Australian … Prime Minister would not sit on the government’s advisory committee for the development of school education curricula.  It is a long established fact that school education curricula are the responsibility of governments but are also a fertile ground for the promotion or furtherance of political orientations and views. It is on that note that school education curricula must be independent of any political parties and that any real or perceived conflict of interest be removed from them. Otherwise, the way things seem in Croatia at this moment, democracy has a long way to travel before its roots are planted in all avenues of daily, ordinary lives of citizens. And, finally, as the plot around public outcries against or for the imposed mandatory school sex education program in Croatia thickens with the revelation that Prime Minister’s wife sat on the government’s advisory committee for the program, one wonders how much and whether the pro-government’s public noises were in fact trying to cover up the possible government-linked conflict of interest involved in the final cut of the program. It’s a matter of “watch this space”, but one cannot but applaud dr Judith Reisman for her announcement of defamation lawsuits against the media outlets and individuals in Croatia who had set out to shred her reputation. Dr Reisman may yet be a heroine that will demonstrate to the Croatian public that freedom of speech in a democracy is a sanctity regulated by the rule of defamation law. Ina Vukic, Prof (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Any part of school education which relates to religion, ethics, morals and sex should be thoroughly discussed in an open forum with parent involvement. Parents MUST have a say in what their children are taught. Parents MUST give the final approval. Parents and not the state have the final responsibility for the well-being of their children.

    Children should not be used as a social experiment by anyone.

    • Totally agree with you Zeljko. The requirement for parental permission before students can attend sex education classes in schools is absolutely necessary, it always has been and in today’s world that deals with increasingly controversial curriculum and sexual practices affecting morality there is no question about mandatory parental input. People are social beings and society has certain morality – are we going to produce a world for our children where navigating morality will become difficult, impossible to lose morality in the end. This might be seen as drastic but given a couple of decades without intervention it will not be drastic at all. It will be sad for humanity

  2. Slaven Bijok says:

    Tim Tate says it all in such a clear and concise manner. Thanks Ina for loading up this video clip

  3. Bringing to attention even the smallest example of conflict of interests is just so important. Bit by bit Croatia might clear its terrible record in this area – but to do so the government and the opposition must insist on it without mercy or regard. Anything that has the potential of being perceived as conflict of interest must be weeded out even if there is no actual moves seen made to the detriment. It’s as in justice: justice must be done AND seen as having been done. Any doubts or suspicions cannot exist.

  4. A conflict of interest involves the abuse — actual, apparent, or potential — of the trust that people have in professionals. The simplest working definition states: A conflict of interest is a situation in which financial or other personal considerations have the potential to compromise or bias professional judgment and objectivity. An apparent conflict of interest is one in which a reasonable person would think that the professionals judgment is likely to be compromised. A potential conflict of interest involves a situation that may develop into an actual conflict of interest. It is important to note that a conflict of interest exists whether or not decisions are affected by a personal interest; a conflict of interest implies only the potential for bias, not a likelihood. It is also important to note that a conflict of interest is not considered misconduct in research, since the definition for misconduct is currently limited to fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism.

    I think that the sitting of Prime Minister’s wife on that government advisory committee is appalling, there’s no doubt in my mind that the mere presence of her there meant that the committee was more likely than not push for the government’s voews and decisions on this. Just get her out of there, people.

  5. Miso Sorbel says:

    Sex education matters very much BUT it must be done with lots of consultation with parents, with young people etc. It’s just so totalitarian the way Croatian government has imposed it all as mandatory in all its contents.

  6. Hvala,ne smijemo odustati radi istine,odgovorni smo kao pojedninci i kao društvo!

  7. Michael Silovic says:

    I am not going to address the political side of this because it would ruin my day. However I am ecstatic over this letter that was sent to our PM. This is exactly what we need from Croatian citizens to control our goverment and make demands that is in the interest of the people and not goverment. The letter in my opinion was very harsh and to the point ( I applaud all of those who wrote it ) and it did indeed go after those who think they know whats best for our children. All citizens must understand that when our goverment goes against our wishes we will not only attack their failed policies but all of those who are associated with it in the harshest manner possible regardless if they are affiliated with anyone that is involved in politics or not. This is called collateral damage! This is our country and not the governments to decide what is best for us. Government is there for one purpose only and that is for the benefit of the people. If again the PM ignores the people he should be recalled from office…We the people are Croatia not the goverment… ~ Za Dom Spremni!~

  8. Well at least Tim Tate doesn’t seem to be the ideological extreme right wing that Judith Reisman is. This woman is obsessed with sex negativity due to the death of her daughter 15 years after her daughter was sexually abused. KIDS ARE GOING TO HAVE SEX. So what do you do? Not talk about it? Or arm them with the best information on how to protect themselves.

    • Those who oppose the newly imposed school sex education in Croatia do not want to deny sex education per se, Frederick Don Royster, but they are seeking consultation and adjustment to the curriculum particularly in certain parts of it that deal with relationships, sexual expression etc – not to stop safety, protection, awareness etc. Reisman’s personal experiences (daughter’s) of horrid abuse may be the motive behind her activism in the area – and that is not a bad thing because much progress in the world arises from personal experiences – at the end of the day the motive is not important but the content and what is attempted and in this case she is trying to say that no school sex education program should be based on or associated in any shape of form with research that used children and abuse of them sexually. Thank you on your comment.

  9. Hallo,

    This is for you, for being kind for others and me,

    Sweet greetings, Summer

  10. “You can’t stop free speech if you want to be a DEMOCRACY”


  1. […] Despite enormous protest by parents and the Croatian Catholic church regarding the new sex education curriculum; despite the visit to Croatia by Judith Reisman and Timothy Tate, warning about the profound negative effects Kinsey’s research and platforms on sexuality can have on children and social morality – the government installed its curriculum as mandatory in schools! […]

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