National, News

Court jails, Cardinal condemns missionary priest over sodomy

By Jurugo Emmanuel Ogasto


Catholic Church in South Sudan condemns sexual abuse against boys by a 31-year-old clergyman in Aweil County, Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.

Rev. Fr. Cletes Gruz Ranch, was accused of sexually assaulting two boys, and the High Court in Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal State slapped a prison sentence on the priest.

On Monday, the missionary catholic priest was awarded 14-year imprisonment sentence with a fine of 3 million South Sudanese pounds as compensation for the victims.

Cardinal Stephen Ameyu Martin Mullah expressed his disappointment in the incident, terming it an immoral act by a priest.

‘’It is evil for a priest to moralize a child and even a girl or to moralize a woman, it is evil, we stand with the family of the victim,’’ he said.

He said let the law take its cost.

‘’We say that the law takes its cost because such an abomination in a church is not a good thing, it spoils the faith and it destroys the moral of people and we pray for such situations that we come out of it clean,’’ he added.

Cardinal Ameyu urged priests to desist from such acts and preach the gospel of the lord to the people of God.

The 31-year-old priest, belonging to the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate congregation, was arrested on the 23rd of February this year and arraigned before court.

He was among three other missionary clergy stationed at Nyamlel Catholic Parish Church in Aweil West County, Northern Bahr El Ghazal State.

The convict, an Indian national was sentenced of sodomy against male minors.

At the time of arrest, the youth in Aweil West County had protested against the act of the priest and demanded the entire missionary congregation be expelled.

However, other priests of the same congregation who were with the convict at Nyamlel Catholic Parish Church in Aweil West County were transferred to Wau Diocese, for safety.

Conviction of Rev. Fr. Cletes Gruz Ranch on sex offence is the first of a king, involving a man of God, in South Sudan, since 2011 when the country gained independence.

However, the Catholic Church has several times come under scrutiny over sexual abuses of children by priests, nuns, and other members of religious life, around the world.


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