Slander charges brought by suspended “gay” clergy against their bishop

Three Kenyan priests suspended by the Diocese of Mount Kenya West have brought suit against the Church Commissioners for Kenya and their bishop, the Rt. Rev. Joseph Kagunda, (pictured) accusing them of defamation. In a 11 Sept 2015 press conference, Bishop Kagunda said four of his priests had been suspended and an archdeacon removed from the ministry after having been found “guilty of the sin of homosexuality.” The bishop said that in August a lay evangelist came forward and claimed the Ven. John Njogu Gachau had seduced him while he was the archdeacon’s house guest. The investigation broadened into an investigation into homosexual practices among the clergy leading to the suspension of four parish priests. The accused had denied their guilt, and Archdeacon Gachau, who was Bishop Kagunda’s challenger for election as bishop in 2004, told The Nairobian the accusations were trumped up by the bishop as part of a political purge of the diocese. The archdeacon and two of the parish priests have filed complaints with the Employment and Labor Relations Court and have also filed actions in civil court accusing the bishop of defamation. “The Bishop, knowing very well how sensitive nature the ‘gay preacher subject’ is in the ACK church and the public and how the same would reflect on the image and character of the plaintiffs and the reactions it will elicit from the congregants,” had defamed the three priests, their complaint said. The tribunal that investigated them had was biased and had acted outside the bounds of canon law, the suit charged, not telling the three whether they were witnesses or defendants, or allowing them to present a defense to the charges. They are seeking for an apology and exemplary damages for libel in the civil court case, and reinstatement to their parishes from the Employment and Labor Relations Court. The response to the complaint from the defendants is due next month.

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