Preacher in gang raping case released on Sh1 million bond
A church preacher who was arrested in connection with the gang raping of a woman has been released on a bond of Sh1 million with one similar surety.
The 44-year-old African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA) preacher, Joseph Karuga Muraguri, is accused of jointly raping the young woman on January 6, 2019 within Ruring’u estate in Nyeri Town.
According to the charge sheet, he allegedly committed the offence with another suspect who is still at large.
He was released after government’s probation officer Victoria Macharia, upon inquiry found he was fit to be committed to bail pending hearing and determination of his case.
Ms Macharia, in her report, indicated that the preacher and the complainant were acquaintances. The woman told the probation officer that she first met the clergyman late last year when she was looking for a house to let in Ruringu’u Estate.
The suspect has been in police custody since he was arrested on January 12 after the police requested for more time to carry out further investigations into the case they termed as “sensitive.”
“The accused in association and in turns with another not before court intentionally and unlawfully raped the woman without her consent,” read part of the charge sheet.
The man of cloth, who was appeared before Senior Resident Magistrate, Maisi Chesang, denied the charges even as detectives intensify the search for his alleged accomplice.
Despite opposition of his release on bond by the complainant, the court went by the pre-bail report from the probation office given that majority of those interviewed had no objection.
The priest’s family, his church and community said they were shocked when they learnt about the criminal charges leveled against him.
NO CRIMINAL HISTORY
“I interviewed the AIPCA Tetu Diocese Bishop Kihuria Ngunjiri, Tetu pastor Stephen Waithaka, church elder Michael Miano and area chief a Mr Wairuhi. They stated that the suspect is morally upright and they have never received any complaint regarding him from any quarter,” said the probation officer.
Terming the suspect as not a threat to the community, the chief told the officer that Mr Muraguri has no known criminal history.
The magistrate noted as per the report, the accused had numerous support from his community as well as followers and thus not a flight risk nor a threat to the case.
His lawyer, Wahome Gikonyo, asked to be supplied with a copy of the charge sheet and witness statements even as he accused the police of laxity in availing the documents.
The case will be mentioned on March 13, this year.