Church ministers under sex probe

The Fiji Times/September 11, 2006
By Jona Bola

Two Methodist church of Fiji ministers are under investigation for allegedly sexually harassing female students at island schools they were serving at.

A senior church member who wished to remain anonymous said their cases were brought up at the recent Methodist Church conference in Nausori.

The two were chaplains at two different island schools in the Lomaiviti Group when they allegedly committed the offence.

Both offences were committed this year and the two had been suspended from taking any responsibilities of the church.

The senior church member confirmed the issue was a sensitive one and the matter was dealt with internally.

"The church is fully aware of the incident and it is an internal matter that would be discussed by church authorities," he said.

He said the meeting heard the two were allegedly caught touching female students and passing sexual comments.

"The case was brought up during the serving ministers' meeting in Nausori and both have been suspended for a year," he said.

The source said the case was a sad one and those concerned would look into the matter.

He said both men were married with children.

He said church counsellors were counselling the two.

Fiji Methodist Church Education secretary Reverend Josaia Katonibau declined to comment on the matter and referred all questions to general secretary Reverend Ame Tugaue. Mr Tugaue was not available for comment last night.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Ro Teimumu Kepa said her office was not aware of any such case.

"I can not comment on the matter until my office receives a report," she said.

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