The Ghana branch of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has said the recent scandal in which an Anglican priest is captured in a viral video kissing girls is a clear case of sexual abuse.
The priest, Rev Father Balthazar Obeng Larbi, was captured planting his lips on that of three girls of St Monica’s College of Education during a church service.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, FIDA-Ghana said “sexual harassment and sexual abuse is not a laughing matter.”
Rev Father Balthazar Obeng Larbi caught on video forcing three young females to give him what the Anglican Church in Ghana describes as ‘Kiss of Peace’.
He was captured removing his face mask and planting his mouth on each of the girls’ mouths to kiss them to the wild jubilation of a congregation.
He has since been sacked as Chaplain of the school.
“For far too long, the issue of sexual harassment has been at best sidelined and at worst silenced in the church. It is now time to challenge cultures of entitlement and abuse of power by clerics which plague women and girls in religious settings,” the statement signed by President of FIDA-Ghana, Afua Brown-Eyeson, said.
FIDA-Ghana in the statement said “the reality though is that sexual harassment and abuse by clerics has been in the news for quite a while due to undue influence, duress and fear of religious authority. Though religious authority is regarded highly in Ghana, it should not be used as a cloak to oppress and abuse women and girls who most often need the protection of these clerics.”
There have been calls from public commentators for the disgraced priest to be charged for sexual abuse.