Five males tell of abuse

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 06th of March, 2014

FIVE young males have described in court how a priest allegedly abused them.
Catholic Church priest Philip Kelerea appeared before National Court judge Justice Salatiel Lenalia in Kokopo yesterday charged with:
lOne count of indecent act directed at a child with circumstances of aggravation;
lone count of aggravated rape;
lone count of sexual assault and touching with consent;
lTwo counts of sexual assault with aggravation.
The court heard that the offences allegedly happened when Kelerea was a priest at the Guma Catholic parish in Pomio, East New Britain, when the five boys were aged below 16 years.
Kelerea, 47, from Malakur ward, in Pomio district was charged in 2012 with the sex-related offences.
Giving evidence in court, the young men described how Kelerea had allegedly abused and assaulted them.
Public prosecutor Lukara Rangan closed the State’s case yesterday after the fifth witness gave evidence.
Rangan told the court that they had to add other charges as Kelerea was under-charged by the police.
State lawyer Philip Kaluwin represented Kelerea in court.
Kelerea chose to remain silent when questioned in court therefore Kaluwin closed the case for the defence.
Rangan and Kaluwin later made final submissions before Justice Lenalia adjourned the matter to March 14 for his ruling.