A Catholic Priest, Michael Kyengo Maingi was found buried in a shallow grave in October 2019, in Meru Kenya. The priest went missing on October 8, 2019, and found in a shallow grave at the banks of River Mashamba in Mbeere Sub-county.
Two people were arrested and charged for the murder in 2019, and today, one of the accused has confessed to the murder, with extenuating circumstances.
Michael Muthinji, who pleaded guilty of the offense before Embu Resident judge Lucy Njuguna, said that the priest sexually molested him several times before he got fed up and stabbed him to death in October 2019. He had denied the charge when he was first charged in 2019.
Muthinji will be sentenced on November 8, 2021 after the probation report is tabled in court for evaluation.
State counsel Leah Mati told the court Muthinji fled and was arrested in Kilifi where he had been hiding after the murder before he was arraigned to face murder charges alongside his two other co-accused; Kavivya Mwangangi and Solomon Mutava.
Michael Maingi, the priest, was 43-years-old priest based at Thatha Parish in Machakos County and had been serving in the Catholic Church for decades before.
Through his lawyer, Michael Munthinji confessed that in 2017 the priest, who was initially his mentor and was paying his school fees, had started making sexual advances towards him and kept referring to him as ‘babe’, ‘sweetheart’ among other names before he sodomized him.
The accused told the court that one day the priest spiked his drink and drugged him, only to wake up and find that he had been sodomised.
When he sought to know why the priest had sexually assaulted him, the priest allegedly said he had all the right since the accused person had nothing to pay for all the favours he had accorded him.
“Kama nime kuumiza pole sana chukua pesa nimeweka juu ya meza ukanunue dawa chemist wacha nikimbie kazi Muthinji,” he told the court of what the priest replied. (If i hurt you, am sorry, take the money i have left on the table and go buy some drugs at the chemist, am rushing to Muthinji for work)
It is at this point the accused says he became angry and despised himself, even turning suicidal as he could not understand why the person who was his mentor had turned into a beast.
He told the court that this went on for sometime and led him to be suicidal as he had lost his dignity but things took a turn for the worst when the deceased told him he had infected him with a sexually transmitted disease.
The accused said the priest’s statement got him furious, leading him to knock him unconscious. He then stabbed him and slit his throat before stashing his body in a gunny bag.
Muthinji said he was remorseful, urging the court to pardon him arguing that he is a young man who can reform and do something meaningful with his life in the society.
Father Maingi’s body was found stuffed in a gunny bag with the throat slit.
The case comes at a time the Catholic Church is facing increasing scrutiny over issues of child molestation and sexual abuse. Kenya has been on the spotlight for cases of sexual abuse by priests on minors, both boys and girls, though a thorough investigation nor prosecution are yet to be done.
Earlier this month, a scathing report showed that more than 200,000 children had been sexually abused by about 3,000 Catholic Clergy in France. The report was coming after a similar report from Canada where mass graves, victims of child abuse by the Catholic Church were discovered.