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Parents accuse police of bungling rape case

By Kevine Omollo | May 30th 2020

Parents of four girls who claim to have been defiled by a local pastor more than a month ago are now accusing police and Migori County Referral Hospital of cover-up.

The pastor, who is also suspected of touching another girl inappropriately, was arrested but released three days later. The girls then went missing and were only returned to their parents yesterday.

The girls’ parents now say that police have gone quiet on the case and that they were denied their daughters’ medical examination results by the Migori County Referral Hospital.

How it began

According to one of the parents, the pastor approached her two years ago and offered to take in her two girls, aged nine and 11.

“I am a widow and have nine children. The pastor came to me and told me there was an education sponsorship programme and that he could get an American sponsor for my two girls,” she said.

There was only one condition: That the two girls had to stay at the pastor’s children’s home while still continuing their schooling at the nearby Ochieng Orwa Primary where the youngest is in class four and the other in seven.

The confession

In March this year, the pastor released the girls back to their parents, claiming that there was government directive to decongest children’s homes.

It was during this time that the girls shared their ordeal at the centre with a neighbour, who in turn escalated it, until it got the attention of the American sponsor.

The sponsor is said to have used another pastor in the area to investigate the matter, which then landed with the police. Later, two more children under the care of the pastor at his children’s home came forward to claim that they had been defiled by the same pastor. The girls are aged five and seven.

According to their parent, the girls claimed the pastor defiled them inside his church and within the children’s home and gave them money to silence them.

The suspect was then arrested and the children taken to Migori County Referral Hospital for medical examination. Three days later, the suspect was released, and the whistle-blower took the children into safe custody.

A month later, relatives of the pastor are said to have raided the children’s new abode, seized them and took them to an unknown place.

When The Standard met the parents of the five girls in Migori on Monday, they were still trying to get their daughters, fearing for their health.

“When the first tests were conducted, one of the doctors pulled me aside and told me one of my girls was the most affected, and they were suspecting that the act may have badly damaged her womb,” said one of the parents.

Little evidence

The mother claimed the rest of the girls had little evidence of being defiled, given that medical examinations were conducted late.

The suspect has denied defiling the minors. Speaking to The Standard, the pastor admitted that he was arrested after the defilement claims surfaced and was out on police bond.

“I was arrested when all these lies began to fly, but I know I am clean and I have been cooperating with the police in the investigations,” he said.

He said he had not interfered with any evidence and was not aware of the whereabouts of the children.

Yesterday, police took the children back to their parents after they had gone missing for more than a month.

Suna East OCPD Stanley Atavachi said the case has not kicked off for lack of evidence.

“There was no clear evidence, so we took the file to the Office of Deputy Public Prosecutor (ODPP) for review and advice on what to do next,” he said.

Police however declined to allow reporters to access the Occurrence Book on how the matter was recorded, amid reports that some police officers had been visiting the girls in their hideout for interrogations without informing their parents. On fears that the medical examination report on the girls may have been tampered with, Migori County Referral Hospital Superintendent Willys Ochieng declined to comment.

Dr Ochieng said he had furnished the Chief Officer for Heath, Dalmas Oyugi, with all details of the case and that he was not allowed to talk to the press.

Mr Oyugi was not available for comment.

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