Hamilton priest threatens legal action against Bishop

A priest in the diocese of Hamilton in New Zealand, Father Alex Kapiarumala, is threatening legal action against Bishop Steve Lowe.

A letter explaining that Kapiarumala no longer had permission to exercise ministry in the diocese and detailing allegations that had been made against him has been read out to congregations and put on noticeboards at churches across the region.

Kapiarumala was serving in the parish of Tauranga when a parishioner made a complaint about him.

Spokesperson for the bishop, Simone Olsen, confirmed an investigation was completed under the church’s protocol “Te Houhanga Rongo – A path to healing.”

“The steps Bishop Steve has taken are as a result of that investigation.”

“An outcome has been reached and he (Kapiarumala) has been told he can no longer minister as a priest in the diocese of Hamilton.”

Olsen said police were informed by the complainant but “the behaviour was not of a criminal nature.”

The diocese confirmed it offered to pay Kapiarumala’s airfares back to India, where he is from, but he has declined the offer.

When contacted Kapiarumala confirmed he had issued instructions to his lawyer, Lisa Abrams, regarding the letter and referred Fairfax Media to her.

In an email response Abrams said that investigations and discussions regarding the matters are still ongoing.

“It’s not appropriate to discuss events in detail at this time,” Abrams said.


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