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Police free priest nabbed over defilement

By Vision Reporter

Added 21st April 2010 03:00 AM

THE Catholic priest who had been arrested for allegedly defiling a 14-year-old girl in Pakwach, Nebbi district, has been released amid protests from the victim’s parents.

THE Catholic priest who had been arrested for allegedly defiling a 14-year-old girl in Pakwach, Nebbi district, has been released amid protests from the victim’s parents.

By Frank Mugabi

THE Catholic priest who had been arrested for allegedly defiling a 14-year-old girl in Pakwach, Nebbi district, has been released amid protests from the victim’s parents.

The Police said yesterday they freed the Rev. Fr. Santos Constatino Wapokura, the parish priest for Pakwach, on the instructions of the resident state attorney, Innocent Obale.

The priest was arrested on Monday on allegations of sexually assaulting a girl who previous served in the church. But the priest denies the allegations, saying they are a ploy by his enemies to tarnish his image.

 The northwestern regional Police commander, Patrick Otika-Akubu, said they had got instructions from the attorney to release the priest.

“We had evidence but the State Attorney has written back to us saying we release the suspect because the parties have opted to settle the matter outside court,” Akubu said, adding that he was surprised by the decision.

 However, efforts to get a comment from the Obale proved futile as he referred the writer to the Police.

Santo Onyai, the victim’s father, denied having written any additional statement withdrawing the case.

He disclosed that although the priest had requested to have private negotiations with the family on the matter, they had not reached a compromise.

“He has been asking for forgiveness but right now we are much aggrieved as a family because he has done a lot of damage to our daughter,” Onyai said.

He said the girl, whom he has withdrawn from school not to “waste money”, occasionally, complains of abdominal pain. The victim was a Primary Five pupil.

Onyai complained that they were not being accorded proper justice.

“The Police have not taken enough control of this case. Whenever we get the priest arrested, he is released,” Onyai said.

Wapokura was first arrested last week but was released shortly after on Police bond under unclear circumstances, which the Police is investigating.

Onyai said they had taken the victim for an HIV test and were expecting the results today.

The district criminal investigations officer, Henry Mulindwa, told The New Vision that they wanted the priest charged for aggravated defilement because he is HIV-positive. A person convicted for aggravated defilement faces a death sentence.

The girl’s father also expressed worry that he did not have enough money to follow up the case.

Meanwhile, the regional Police commander said they were investigating other complaints against the priest from other accusers.

Police free priest nabbed over defilement

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