Fiji priest faces rape allegations

A priest in Fiji who has been accused of rape and multiple allegations of sex related crimes has been placed in police custody for his own safety.

Kolikoli was charged with one count of rape and three counts of indecent assault following a complaint lodged by a 21-year-old on Feb. 24

Police prosecutors say further charges are to be laid for incidents dating back to 2004.

They said there were six victims in total.

The Magistrates Court in Tavua was told that Father Nemesio Kolikoli, 50, should be held in protective custody as tension was high in Vatukoula, where he served as parish priest.

Archbishop elect Father Peter Loy Chong said  he was aware of the incident and has spoken to the priest concerned.

He said the church would let the law take its course but emphasised that sex abuse involving the clergy would not be condoned.

“We can’t hide it. We don’t want to hide it. Rape is an intrinsically evil act. If someone does wrong then they should be prepared to face the consequences,” he said.

Father Chong said the Fiji Catholic church had learnt from history whereby the church had not dealt effectively with the priests involved in sexual abuse.

“We are not going to sweep it under the carpet. The Catholic Church has learnt that it is one scandal when the priest does wrong, and the second scandal is when the church does nothing about it.”

Kolikoli is yet to enter a plea and has been remanded in custody until Tuesday when he will re-appear in court and the remaining charges are expected to be read.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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