Dutch Bishop under probe over sexual offences in Kenya - Daily Nation

Dutch Bishop under probe over sexual offences in Kenya

Wednesday July 6 2011

Bishop Cornelius Schilder, at a press conference at Waumini House, in 2008. Photo/FILE

Bishop Cornelius Schilder, at a press conference at Waumini House in 2008. Photo/FILE 

By WALTER MENYA

Dutch authorities are investigating claims of sex abuse against a former Ngong Catholic Bishop Cornelius Schilder.

Bishop Schilder is being investigated for defiling a minor 18 years ago. The alleged offences were committed in 1993 when he served as a priest in Ngong diocese in the outskirts of Nairobi before taking over as Bishop in November 2003.

Ellen Prummel a spokesperson for the Dutch Public Prosecutor's Office told Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) that they are investigating "if there are enough leads to warrant further investigation".

Ms Prummel stated that the fact that the victim resides in Kenya and has not notified the Dutch Police concerning the case makes the situation a "complicated affair".

According to the Dutch media, Bishop Schilder, now living near the Dutch village of Oosterbeek, has been interrogated by the police.

On Monday his lawyer told RNW that Schilder denies all allegations against him.

The accuser, 32-year-old Michael ole Uka, claims to have been abused by several foreign priests in Kenya.

He came forward in 2005 and informed the church authorities of his allegations when he suffered such severe injuries from abuse that he required urgent medical treatment. The treatment was paid for by the Mill Hill Missionaries, the congregation to which the accused priests and Dutch bishop belong.

Mr Uka also received financial compensation and further aid.

The victim says the abuse started when he was seven years old. He claims several members of the clergy 'passed him on' to each other.

The abusers paid Uka's school fees, which made him feel obliged to permit the abuse, although he says: "I knew it was wrong what they were doing."

Since 2009 Bishop Schilder has not been allowed to carry out the duties of a bishop and as a priest he has been placed under supervision of Mill Hill.

Vatican’s official line has been that Bishop Schilder was retired on health grounds.

Bishop Schilder also added that he "considers it inappropriate to issue a statement as long as an investigation is ongoing." He says he regrets that the media have publicised the matter before investigations are completed.

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