Mediation Could Be Used to Resolve Dispute between Bishop and Three Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse
Monday, November, 12, 2018
Mediation has been used in several instances to resolve issues between the Catholic Church and sex abuse victims, and now, mediation has been scheduled for a bishop and three priests involved in a defamation dispute.
The hearing that had been scheduled regarding the sexual defamation case was suspended by the High Court in favor of a mediation attempt. The judge overseeing the case advised Bishop Joseph Kagunda of the ACK Mt Kenya West Diocese and the three priests to attempt mediation, which is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
The three priests involved, Archdeacon John Gachau, Reverend James Maigua, and Reverend Paul Warui, have requested an apology, as well as financial compensation from the Bishop. They claim the Bishop falsely implicated them in the church’s sex scandal and accused them of engaging in homosexual acts. The three priests and their attorneys agree that mediation could help the issue to be resolved efficiently.
There were four witnesses, including three young men who claim to have been sodomized by the priests, scheduled to testify on behalf of the Bishop, but their testimonies have been put on hold.
The Bishop claimed to want to distance himself from the church’s tribunal. The tribunal recommended suspension of the priests after the accusations surfaced. According to the Bishop, he only “communicated and implemented” the findings of the tribunal, which included confirmation that at least one of the priests had committed sexual abuse.
If this mediation attempt proves successful, there is a good chance it will enforce the precedent of using the process to resolve abuse allegation within the church.