Exposed: Sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Kenya

May 25, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – A Catholic priest is under investigation in Ireland over the regular abuse of boys at the Ngong parish in Kenya.

Also under probe in the Netherlands is a Dutch Bishop following an expose through a TV documentary aired by Irish broadcaster RTE which highlighted the abuse by priests from the Mill Hill Missionaries.

The documentary has lifted the lid on 56-year-old Fr Gerry Geraghty who now lives at the order\’s house in Rathgar, Dublin.  He is alleged to have abused young boys in Kenya as recently as five years ago.

Michael ole Uka is interviewed in the programme and claims his abuse continued until 2006. Today, he needs ongoing medical treatment for the abuse he suffered for many years.

"Going through what I went through is like God has given somebody control of your life… to manipulate you and do all the bad things (yet) you cannot do anything," Michael tearfully narrates.

When Michael was just seven-years-old, an American Holy Ghost priest took him from his village to Nairobi where he was to sponsor him through school. Instead, the priest began to sexually abuse the young boy.

When he left Kenya, the priest handed Michael over to Fr Geraghty who agreed to pay the boy\’s fees.

Fr Geraghty also continued to abuse Michael, who was by then nine-years-old and the boy fled back to his village to run away from the abuses. However, the priest went for him

"My dad was asking why I didn\’t want to go with the Father yet he was helping us. We didn\’t even have food at home. My parents, even the neighbours couldn\’t understand why I was refusing to go to school," Michael tells journalist Aoife Kavanagh.

Michael grew up under the care (and abuse) of the priest who later employed him as a cook in his house.

In 2006, Michael confided to another Mill Hill priest about the abuses.

"It was a relief because when I told this priest, he cried for two days."

Bramwel Murungi who was an altar boy at the age of 14, has also come out with allegations of abuse by Father Geraghty.

"When it happened I got confused and scared at the same time. I hated myself, because this was a priest," said Bramwel.

He said he was also abused until five years ago and he never reported to anyone because he feared that he would be ostracised by the community.

"Fr Gerry was feared. He was strict. He was like a small god. If I said something about him, I am sure my education would have come to an end," Bramwel narrates in the RTE documentary and reveals that he has never told his family about the abuses.

In what the documentary terms as a pattern of abuse, denial and cover up, the Mill Hill Missionaries did not report the criminal acts of one of its own to the Kenyan police. Fr Geraghty was instead transferred to Canada to undergo therapy.

He now lives in Dublin where he can no longer say mass, and the order has recommended that he be defrocked. But he doesn\’t have a criminal record and he continues to deny the allegations even to his superiors.

"He denies the allegations and has not expressed any remorse for the acts. He has expressed remorse for the trouble he\’s caused but not actually for what he did," said Fr Anthony Chantry, General Superior of the Mill Hill Missionaries.

The documentary then reveals more shattering details of how Michael was abused by the Bishop of Ngong Diocese Cornelius Schilder. Michael says the abuse happened in the Bishop\’s bedroom and that he believed the Bishop knew about the ongoing abuses by his priest.

"He asked me \’do you normally touch Gerrard?\’ and I told him yes."

Michael reported the Bishop to the Mill Hills in 2007. As a Bishop, only the Vatican and not the order could remove him from office, but it took the Vatican two years to act, the documentary says.

Again, the Kenyan police were not informed of the criminal allegations.

In 2009, Bishop Schilder was removed from Kenya and retired due to "health reasons".

The TV documentary, which was aired on Monday in Ireland, also details other abuses in Nigeria and South Africa.

Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he had watched the programme "with a sense of revulsion at the unspeakable catalogue of abuse against children it revealed".

"While the behaviour took place abroad, we have a solemn duty to do all that is within our power to ensure that perpetrators of this predatory abuse of children are brought to justice wherever it takes place.

"There can be no hiding place for those who do these despicable acts to children," Shatter said.

Ireland\’s top policeman, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, has ordered the head of the force\’s domestic violence and sexual assault unit to examine whether criminal behaviour was disclosed "which can be pursued in this jurisdiction."

Shatter said a 1996 law allows people to be tried in Ireland under certain circumstances for sexual offences against a child which are committed abroad.

Watch the shocking documentary on the RTE website.

Follow us on TWITTER @CapitalFM_Kenya


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