Catholic priest accused of child neglect

Kayunga: A Catholic priest in Masaka Diocese has been accused of neglecting a child he fathered.
Ms Betty Namuddu, 31, of Kasaali in Bukulula Sub-county, Kalungu District reported the case to Masaka Resident District Commissioner Linos Ngopek, saying the priest, who is attached to Buyoga Catholic Parish in Masaka Diocese impregnated her but has since refused to provide for their 13-year old son.
The priest, whose name has been left out for legal reasons allegedly, impregnated Ms Namuddu in 2001 before she finished her secondary education at Centenary High School in Masaka Municipality.
Ms Namuddu, who came with her son to the RDC’s office last Thursday, claimed the priest raped her at Bukulula Catholic Parish where she was working then.
“The priest would regularly ask for sex, one day asked me to behind after he had sent all the other girls for assignments. He invited me for tea but I suspect he had sedated it. Because after taking it I became weak. He took me to his bedroom where he repeatedly raped me,” she told Mr Ngopek.
“I found it hard to continue working there. So I left the place but I later realised I was pregnant. The doctor who examined me called the priest, who came and paid the bill but asked me to keep quiet about the matter.”
“I delivered at Kitovu Hospital but the priest who had earlier told me he would not be able to help me has since refused to look after our son.”
“I went to the police child protection unit but I was referred me to the probation office who told me the Catholic Church is very powerful and difficult to prevail upon,” she said.
“I was aised to see Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga but I could not. Fortunately I was able to see Cardinal Wamala. I explained my dilemma and out of sympathy he gave me Shs60,000,” she said.
Ms Namuddu’s told Daily Monitor Cardinal Wamala gave her a letter instructing the Bishop of Masaka to solve the matter decisively.
Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa and the then Vicar General Monsignor Joseph Kato Ssempungu, according to Ms Namuddu prevailed upon the priest, who promised to pay Shs500,000 every month as school fees and upkeep for the boy. However, he has since renegaded on the agreement and has never paid a coin.
Ms Namuddu, who had been teaching at a necessary school, lost her job on grounds that she had no proper qualifications.
Masaka Diocesan spokesperson, Father Joseph Kasangaki told Daily Monitor they are aware of the matter and are working on it.
However, we could not reach the priest as our calls to his known telephone number were repeatedly switched off but Mr Ngompek, told this newspaper he would cause a probe into the matter with a view of prosecuting the priest.

Issues

Aware. Although Daily Monitor could not speak to the priest, the Masaka Diocesan spokesperson, Father Joseph Kasangaki says they are working on a way through which the priest would be forced to take responsibilty of the boy and his mother.
The appeal. However Ms Namuddu, said whoever, is working on the matter should solve it precisely since she has suffered looking after their son with no defined means of income.

fmuzaale@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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