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Catholic priest charged with rape, impregnation of minor; remanded in prison

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Catholic priest charged with rape, impregnation of minor; remanded in prison

 

Catholic Priest Nwaigwe Stephen, originally from Anambra State, has been arrested and detained on charges of raping and impregnating a minor.

The case was heard in the Anambra State Chief Magistrates’ Court, which is also recognized as the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court.

The magistrate ordered that the priest be held in prison until December 6, 2023, and instructed the prosecutor to send the original case file to the office of the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of Anambra State.

The priest is accused of taking the teenager from her parents to live with him when she was 14 years old, promising to sponsor her education while she also served as his cook.

However, he allegedly started forcing himself sexually on her soon after she moved into his house, continuing the act until she became pregnant at the age of 17.

READ ALSO: How 34-year-old man entered old people’s home to rape 90-year-old woman

When she informed him about her pregnancy, he took her from Ihiala Anambra State to somewhere in Benin City, Edo State, where he introduced her to a man and woman whom he claimed were his brother and brother’s wife.

The minor gave birth to a baby in a native birth attendant’s house in Benin City, but she was later told that the baby had died and had been buried.

The victim testified in court during remand proceedings that while on their way to Benin City, the priest asked her to say that she had been gang-raped. However, she stated that she had never been raped before, except for the sexual acts committed by the priest in his house.

The police prosecutor informed the court that there was probable cause to order the remand of the priest and witnesses were bound over to appear before the High Court to give evidence whenever the case would be mentioned.

The defence counsel applied for bail of the defendant, but the police prosecutor prayed the court to refuse bail, stating that the case before the court was an offence against a minor who was supposedly under the spiritual guardianship of the defendant.

In her ruling on the bail application, Chief Magistrate Genevieve Osakwe warned that the court would not stand by and watch society decay, irrespective of whose ox is gored.

She cited numerous instances of similar offences that had appeared before her court in the past, including a case involving an elderly man who also allegedly raped a minor.

The court adjourned the case until December 6, 2023.

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