Head of Baptist Church, revealed as Securitate collaborator, dies

Timisoara, Romania - The head of Romania's Baptist Church, whose past as a collaborator of the feared Securitate secret police was revealed recently, has died. He was 62.

Petru Dugulescu died late Thursday of a heart attack in this western city, a week after the weekly Banateanul reported that he had been an informer in the early 1980s, reporting to the Communist regime on another Baptist priest and foreigners with whom he came into contact.

As head of Romania's small Baptist Church, he attended yearly prayer breakfasts organized at the White House after Communism ended. He was also a lawmaker for the center-right Peasant Party from 1992 to 2000.

He was recruited by the Securitate in the early 1980s after he applied for a passport to travel to Switzerland and the United States, a rare privilege under the Communist regime of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Banateanul reported.

Dugulescu told the paper he had been an informer for 18 months. The Securitate stopped working with him in 1982, the paper reported, claiming he was hiding information from them. He said he was harassed by the Securitate after he stopped being an informant.

In December 1989, he played a key role in the anti-communist uprising, joining protests against the forced deportation of Hungarian priest Laszlo Toekes. Those protests sparked the revolt that led to Ceausescu's execution on Christmas Day 1989.

The Securitate relied on an estimated 700,000 informers to keep tabs on Romanians and foreigners.

Dugulescu's funeral will take place Monday. He is survived by a wife and two sons who live in the U.S.