Liberia: Methodist Pastor Suspended From Ministerial Functions

For allegedly raping a 15-year old girl

Police in the crossroads town of Gbarnga having charged Methodist clergyman, Rev. Dr. Samuel Karyeah for allegedly raping a 15-year old girl, the United Methodist Church has reportedly suspended its Minister and distanced itself from his alleged act.

According to Police charge sheet, Rev. Dr. Samuel Karyeah, 54, who is also an Associate Dean of the Gbarnga School of Theology, (GST) is indicted for raping a 15-year-old girl on numerous occasions.

A statement from the United Methodist Human Rights Monitor indicates that Rev. Dr. Samuel Karyeah has been suspended by the church from all ministerial functions pending the outcome of the trial; a decision that the human rights monitor endorses highly.

"The acts of rape are barbaric, inhumane and have the propensity of undermining the growth and development of its victims, especially children that have been the target of these devilish acts in recent times in the country. The Monitor categorically condemns the alleged raping of the girl and others being raped, and calls for the speedy trial that will be conducted in consonance with Constitution and other laws of the Republic of Liberia," said Jefferson B. Knight, UM Human Rights Monitor Program Director.

Police investigations in Gbarnga established that early in September 2019, the victim was tampered with in the Lelekpayea Community and early this year on the compound of the Gbarnga School of Theology where the accused resides.

"The medical reports, coupled with other smithereens of information obtained are sufficient to charge Dr. Karyeah with multiple crimes including sexual offense and indecency to the victim," a Senior Police Officer told the Daily Observer.

An investigation conducted by this paper revealed that the victim is a sponsored student of Dr. Karyeah at the William V.S. Tubman-Gray High School a United Methodist Church-run school.

When questioned the whereabouts of the victim, police said, since the Ministry of Gender, Social Welfare and Children Protection Bong County Office does not have a safe home for rape victims and other sexually abused victims, the victim was turned over to her parent.

According to a family source, the 15-year-old rape victim was promised by the Pastor to pay her outstanding school fees.

"Actually, I want to believe that this Pastor has been cashing money for this girl's school fees because we see her with something we didn't pay" the source claimed.

The family source told the Daily Observer that the rape victim was forced to open up (to family) having suffered psychological trauma which has been affecting her academic performance since the incident, adding, "We observed that she was always getting moody something that restricted her from interacting with peers."

"I want the full weight of the law to be meted on the Pastor because I know he may have been into such a dirty game. He can't go unpunished," a youth advocate Tiangeh Taylor suggested.

Taylor used the occasion to plead with police to ensure perpetrators of wickedness against children such as rape face the law and discourage some parents to also stop frustrating access to justice by promoting the 'settlement ideology.'

"It is this reason people are committing such acts as rape with impunity," Miss Taylor concluded.

Dr. Karyeah, according to the investigation has been teaching at the GST the following courses: "The Pauline Epistle" which has to do with books written by Paul, and "The New Testament Survey" which deals generally with the life of Jesus Christ and His activities.

Most of the students at the GST who spoke to this paper said they were taken aback with the information and described the GST Associate Dean as a man with "good human relations."

The Rev. Dr. Samuel Karyeah is being remanded at the Gbarnga Central Prison, awaiting court trial.

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