By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Here is this story about a terrible happening in Cape Coast that clearly exposes the Attorney-General’s Department as either incompetent or blessing criminality:
A Cape Coast Circuit Court on Wednesday struck out the case of rape against a priest of the Anglican Church in Cape Coast, Reverend Father Emmanuel Quartey, acting on the advice of the Attorney-General’s Department.
The AG’s Department contended that the victim actually consented to having an affair with the priest, explaining that the victim was not able to shout in the hotel room to draw the attention of the workers there for the necessary action to be taken.
The priest had already been remanded twice into prison custody by the same court for allegedly raping the 20-year old woman. The court, presided over by Mrs. Eva Bannerman, therefore, granted the request of the AG’s Department and released the priest from prison custody.
Chief Inspector Francis Ockom (prosecutor) told the court that the victim (a resident of Siwdu, in Cape Coast) approached Rev. Father Quartey to help her break a blood covenant she had with her boyfriend. He said the priest agreed to help her and asked her to meet him in a hotel at Elmina on October 18, 2013, which she did.
The prosecutor said that Rev. Father Quartey forcibly had sex with the victim in one of the rooms and warned her not to tell anyone or she would die. Out of fear, the victim concealed the incident to herself until November 6 when she broke her silence and informed her elder sister about it.
The prosecutor said that Rev. Father Quartey FORCIBLY had sex with the victim. Is that clear to anybody?
Yet, the AG’s office decided to end the case because “the victim actually consented to having an affair with the priest” and because “the lady did not make any noise to draw people’s attention to the incident”.
How did the case get to begin being prosecuted, in the first place? Not through advice from this same AG’s Department? How could the AG’s Department have established “consent” in the matter to draw that conclusion? Considering the circumstances surrounding this incident, should the AG’s Department have acted this way to “kill” the case?
Some are wondering why the woman consented to meeting the Priest at a hotel (granted that a hotel already suggests carnality) and why she “opened up” to the entreaties of the Priest and kept mute (probably, enjoying every manouevre in the depths of her nerves!); but I have my qualms.
Others claim that the incident is more of a moral one than a criminal one and that it is not the Court that must determine it but the Anglican Church hierarchy. I disagree.
There are clear indications of a criminal act being committed here: A Man-of-God lures a woman to a hotel under the pretext of helping her overcome a spiritual problem (if “blood covenant with a boyfriend” is anything to go by at all) and ends up having a sexual encounter with her, binding her in a spell.
The original agreement had nothing to do with such a sexual intercourse, but the circumstances wrought by their proximity (unlike polls attracting each other, as the principles of physics will tell us) catalyzed the consummation of pent-up feelings (whose feelings, anyway—since both seemed to have enjoyed the deed of darkness and kept mute over it until the woman felt the need to bare it all, long after the act, and probably sensing the after-effects physically, morally, and spiritually). Here was a woman seeking to break away from a boyfriend only to be sexually conjoined to an Anglican Priest. The frying pan seemed not to be as frightening as the fire is now!!
But we can tell from the report that the Man-of-God had a premeditated action to take—seeing the woman as vulnerable and dependent on him as a Man-of-God who could neutralize the “blood covenant” between her and her boyfriend.
Then, all of a sudden, the table turned the other way for the Anglican Priest to put his own sexual interests above the spiritual feat that he was to perform. And it all happened. None made any noise of objection or concession. In the end, there was an ENJOYMENT.
Here is a nagging aspect. Before the ENJOYMENT session, the Anglican Priest had a caveat that was to bind the victim to an oath of secrecy: Don’t reveal the encounter to anybody… or, you will die!!
Isn’t that a threat, which is criminal in nature and intent? So, the Anglican Priest was calculating enough to know in advance what the intricacies of his act were, and he needed to coerce the victim to silence.
Is it not already clear that the sexual encounter occurred “under duress”, especially when the woman was subdued by the threat? And isn’t that tantamount to forcing her to do what she didn’t consent to? And isn’t it criminal in essence?
This is where the criminality comes in, which is why the intervention and the reason given by the Attorney-Generals’ Department for “aborting” this criminal case is inadmissible.
And doesn’t it constitute rape? In this case, we have a “powerful” male subjugating a woman in distress, capitalizing on her vulnerability and abject trust in a Man-of-God for redemption? Isn’t it alarming to warrant official backing for the victim instead of what has happened?
Now, we know everything and are unhappy that the Attorney-General’s Department has cheapened itself this way. Oh, Ghana!!
Is the Church any more a protector of the poor, defenceless? Is it any more a sanctuary? Or a predatory institution manned by sexually starved perverts roaring and roaming about in search of desperate women to devour?
It is pathetic that churches are springing up here and there in Ghana, claiming to be sanctuaries for those seeking refuge from the corrupting influences of this mundane life. Daily news reports about the predatory acts of the priests, pastors, and all manner of Men-of-God are depressing; and this instance concerning this Anglican Priest of Cape Coast seals it all.
Worse still is the involvement of the institutions of state that are tasked with protecting the citizens against predation. Are the citizens really safe under this Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department? And will President Mahama sit down unconcerned to be besmirched this way as the fount of authority in Ghana?
Indeed, the rot in the Judiciary knows no bound!! And it is all to the detriment of our democracy. I cry for Mother Ghana and its citizens.
I shall return…