Fiji police probe two Methodist ministers over sex abuse claims

Radio New Zealand/September 27, 2006

A report from Fiji says two ministers of the Methodist Church, who have now been suspended, sexually abused at least nine secondary school girls.

Radio Legend reports that the divisional police commander eastern, Superintendent Emosi Baleinuku, is carrying out the investigations on Gau and Koro islands where the offences allegedly took place.

All the nine girls are aged between 14 and 16.

Mr Baleinuku is quoted as saying they have yet to interview some other girls who are also believed to have been sexually assaulted by the same two ministers.

Earlier, senior Methodist Church officials had tried to hush up the matter by saying they would deal with it internally.

But police intervened when the chief executive of the justice ministry, Sakiusa Rabuka, warned that church leaders could be charged with being accessories to the crimes and compounding a criminal sexual offence.

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