The Director of FIDA-International has lauded the leaders of the Anglican Church for the promptness in sanctioning the priest found kissing three students at St Monica’s College of Education.
Madam Afua Brown-Eyeson, speaking on Joy News’ The Law on Sunday, stated that it was imperative for the Church to sanction its member for violating the rights of the three young women.
“I think they (Anglican Church) showed a lot of leadership in this matter in coming out boldly to condemn the act, relieve him of his duties to even offer counselling to the girls.”
Her comments are in reaction to the conduct of Reverend Father Obeng Larbi, who was seen in a viral video kissing the three students at a Church service in the school.
Following several condemnation of the act on social media, Executive Director to the Metropolitan Archbishop of Ghana, Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah in a statement issued on Tuesday disclosed that an investigation had begun into the matter.
According to him, the said priest, Rev. Fr Balthazar Obeng Larbi, if found culpable will be dealt with as stipulated in the norms and values of the Anglican Communion.
Soon after, the said priest was relieved of his duties, thus ceased to be the Chaplain and lawyer of the school until further notice.
For Madam Afua Brown-Eyeson, the Church’s decision confirms that “they know the girls had been violated and they needed that support.”
Speaking to host, Samson Lardy Anyenini, she admonished churches in the country, to take a cue from the Anglican Church’s approach in handling the matter and replicate the same in similar circumstances.
“I think it is important that other churches take a cue from the Anglican church’s approach in handling this matter, because most often, we hear that things are covered as soon as some allegations are made, the church will try to cover it. It is never really addressed.
“I mean for the past few years, we have heard some things on air and we have not seen any church come out boldly except maybe for the Vatican, where from time to time, we hear them relieving priests of their posts or priests going through prosecution and being jailed. We don’t see most of the charismatic churches dealing with this issue and sometimes it looks like we hear a bit more from that quarters. So I hope that we all take a cue from this,” she explained.
In a statement sighted by JoyNews, Father Baltharzzar Obeng Larbi acknowledged wrongdoing by his action and rendered an apology to the girls involved, their families, the Anglican church, and the general public at large.
He explained that his action was only to show appreciation to the students for performing extraordinarily well, thus the need for a human touch.
“The unfortunate incident happened during a Church service in appreciation of the Level 300 students, who would be going for their Macro Teaching (Off-Campus Teaching Practice) when College resumed the next academic year, by the College’s Chaplaincy Board.
“The three students seen in the video performed extraordinarily well and were therefore called to be appreciated by the chaplain. An attempt to add a human touch resulted in the scene in the video.”
Madam Afua Brown-Eyeson holds the view that reasons offered by Father Baltharzzar Obeng Larbi for the unacceptable behavior were irrelevant. She noted that a simple apology that said; “I’m sorry” would have been enough.
“I think it would have been safe to say sorry and leave it at that, than to give us the reasons why he did what he did. For me, I was scandalized. To actually say that you were giving a human touch and you are appreciating the students and to think that it came from a lawyer, that was quite strange for me.
“Another statement or phrase I noticed in his statement was that, he had not been mindful of his behaviour. He didn’t say act. He didn’t say I didn’t think through this act. So it suggests that he knows he has a behaviour of doing wrong things. So if it is a behaviour, it is a serious issue and it is right the Anglican Church has relieved him of his position,” she added.