23 Oct 2007

Catholic priest denies rape charges

Tanzania Standard Newspapers - Daily News

October 24, 2007

PETI SIYAME in Sumbawanga

A ROMAN Catholic priest has denied raping and impregnating a 15-year-old primary school pupil in Sumbawanga district. He was granted 1m/- bail with two sureties.

Prosecuting Inspector of Police Mgai Chassa told Senior Resident Magistrate, Ms Happiness Ndesamburo that Father Rock Vyakuyu (45) committed the offence on February 13, this year at Sopa, where he was the Parish priest.

Mr Chassa alleged that the priest had developed a lengthy intimate relationship with the young girl who was a member of the church choir. She has since been terminated from her studies.

Chassa told the court that the matter was reported to the Sumbawanga Police Station but law enforcers could not arrest Father Vyakuyu because he had left the country to visit friends in Italy where he stayed for nearly six months.

The Bishop of Sumbawanga Diocese, His Imminence Damian Kyaruzi, has already demoted Father Vyakuyu to Mwazye assistant parish priest. It was not immediately clear whether the move was related to charges facing the priest.

Investigations were not yet complete and Ms Ndesamburo adjourned the case until November 19 this year, for another mention. The priest faces up to 30 years in jail if convicted.


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