National, News

Catholic Priest on trial over sodomy

By Charles K Mark


South Sudan’s Northern Bahr El Ghazal State civil court commences hearing of a case against a missionary priest accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

The suspect, belonging to Missionaries of Mary Immaculate congregation of priests, is among three others stationed at Nyamlel Catholic Parish Church in Aweil West County, Northern Bahr El Ghazal State.

The suspect, an Indian national, faces charges of sodomy against male minors.

Northern Bahr El Ghazal State minister of Information, Zechariah Garang told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that a comprehensive investigation had been conducted into the allegations against the priest.

“The case is now in court, and one priest who is accused is the one now in court. The parents of the kids presented their case to the court, and I think in the next hearing the accused will defend himself,” Garang said.

The Minister said the victims (the minors) who have been undergoing treatment were discharged and now attending counselling sessions at their parents’ homes.

The youth in Aweil West protested the act of the priest, demanding that the entire missionary congregation be expelled.

Meanwhile, other priests of the same congregation who were with the suspect at Nyamlel Catholic Parish Church in Aweil West County have now been transferred to Wau Diocese, for safety.

However, Garang appreciates ta positive move taken by the authority for safety of the missionaries at the face of unchallenged call by the community spearheaded by the youth.

“Now the priests are in Wau where they came from. Apart from the one in the custody of police, the rest are now in Wau Diocese,” he said.

The three men of God were arrested in February after residents accused them of sexual misconduct against minor male children.

This seems to have been the first reported sex scandal involving men of God in South Sudan since independence in 2011.

There have been many cases of sexual abuses of children by priests, nuns, and other members of religious life in the Catholic Church around the world.


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