I am a priest who has fathered a child. Can I legally bind her to secrecy?

Dear Harry

It has taken me serious thinking and introspection before I decided to write to you on my current predicament that will tarnish my image forever. As a man of the cloth, I was tempted into a relationship with one of my flock who is a respectable married woman – whose husband works abroad, within my congregation. She recently told me that she had missed her period and my fears were confirmed after she undertook three pregnancy tests.

My worry now is both my image and the fact that I have been a critic of abortion and cannot encourage her to procure one. I may  also have ruined her marriage as her husband will definitely know she committed adultery since he has been away for 14 months – there is no way he would have impregnated her while away. What can I do? I don’t want it to ruin my reputation.

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Anonymous, Nairobi

Dear Anonymous

Unfortunately, it is not legally possible to walk out on the baby you biologically fathered.

Kenyan law expressly provides that everything must be done for the best interest of the child.

As the biological father, unless both of you mutually agree on secrecy of the baby, the law expects that you and the mother provide for the maintenance and upkeep of the child whether you are married to each other or not. Depending on how your relationship turns out, the mother of the child may decide to seek maintenance of the baby from you or both of you would agree to share the costs – the Children’s Court may also rule so, should she decide to take the legal route.

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On the flip side, your situation is complicated – just as you have said – as the fathering of a child out of wedlock amounts to adultery – a ground the husband may use should he decide to divorce or separate from his wife for getting pregnant out of wedlock.

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