NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – Police on Wednesday said they had launched investigations into the sex scandal pitting renown Catholic priest Father Renato Kizito who has been accused of sexually molesting young boys under his care.
Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino Wahong’o said detectives would record statements from complainants to be able to ascertain if the priest has a case to answer.
“We have seen the reports in the media and are looking into calling the complainants to record statements about the matter. It is a serious one and can not be ignored,” Mr Wahong’o told reporters at a news briefing in Nairobi.
“Although we have not received any formal complaints against Fr Kizito, investigations will certainly commence to establish the truth,” he said.
“When a complaint is made, investigations will commence. Complaints are made in many ways, including those media reports,” he said. “And out of that, we will be able to find out what happened, if there is an offence committed or if it is a fabrication.”
Capital News reliably established that police had not approached or summoned any one for questioning by Wednesday afternoon.
Fr Kizito who is facing serious accusations of child molestation and sodomy has denied the reports and instead termed it a “case of blackmail, defamation and extortion.”
“I am ready to face anyone with evidence,” he told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday.
The renowned priest who has extensively worked in Kenya for over 20 years offering charity work dismissed a news item aired by independent local TV KTN on Monday night that said it had more video footage of “him with the boys.”
"I have not and I have never sodomised any child ever in Kenya or anywhere else. Let me state very clearly that I am ready to face anybody who can prove to the contrary,” he said.
"I have not seen the said video footage or photographs. I can not therefore comment about them because I have not seen them,” he said and insisted that “it is impossible that there is footage of me and the boys because it has not happened.”
Fr Kizito told reporters the allegations were a result of “people who are out to malign my name and take over my properties.”
He singled out former trustees of one of his shelter homes, Koinonia of “scheming to take over the property.”
“I am their last obstacle and that is why they want to destroy my name so that they can take over my properties here in Kenya,” he said without naming the said trustees.
Fr Kizito said his troubles started sometimes last October when unknown people circulated an e-mail depicting him with a naked person.
“That was certainly the work of photo editing techniques and I ignored it,” he added.
The latest reports appeared potential threats to the stability of the Catholic Church which moved to defend Fr Kizito.
Nairobi Catholic Archbishop John Cardinal Njue said: “"We wish to take this opportunity to express our shock at what we saw last night (Monday) in one of the television stations concerning allegations of sexual abuse by a priest."
“The Church does not condone such behaviour but it is a matter that certainly can be investigated,” he told reporters in Nakuru where he read a joint statement with 22 other Catholic priests on Tuesday.