A Trans Nzoia Catholic Church priest has been jailed for five years after he was found guilty of attempting to defile an altar girl.

Father Benard Magina Masinde of Kipsaina Catholic Church in Cherangany Sub County in Trans Nzoia was accused that on September 15, 2018, intentionally attempted to defile a minor aged 11 years at Kipsaina Trading Centre in Trans Nzoia County.

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The 45 years old Catholic priest was however acquitted of an alternative charge of committing an indecent act with the minor.

Senior Resident Magistrate, Dancan Mtai, told the court that the prosecution had proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“I find that the prosecution has proved their case against the accused person beyond any reasonable doubt. I, therefore, convict him to five years imprisonment with 14 days right of appeal,” ruled the magistrate.

The prosecution had five witnesses in the case against the priest who did not produce any witness during the hearing of the case.

Initially, when he was produced in court, the accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge of attempted defilement.

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Father Masinde was accused of defiling the girl inside his car at the back of the seat at the church compound.

During the hearing, the mother of the minor told the court that, on the evening of the material day around 6 pm her daughter informed her that the priest had requested her to go to church for preparations of service but took long to return back home.

“I then sent her siblings to go and look for her but she could not be found. It is when I went to look for her at the church only to find her inside the priest’s vehicle that was parked outside the church compound,” she told the court.

According to the mother, she was forced to scream alerting members of the public and also rushed to the nearby police station to report the incident.

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However, in his defence, Father Masinde told the court that he was inside his vehicle when the girl knocked on his car window and he rolled it down.

“I saw the girl, she had been complaining of chest problem. I told her to come inside the car to inquire about her condition. Since it was getting late after having a long conversation I asked her to go home only to be ambushed by the girl’s mother and her uncle,” Father Masinde said.

The court, however, found him guilty and slapped him with five years in prison.

KNA By Pauline Ikanda