Boy Tells Court of Abuse by Priest

By Scott Shifrel
Daily News (New York)
April 23, 2003

A 13-year-old boy told a Queens jury yesterday how a visiting Kenyan priest groped him repeatedly during a trip to the beach on Father's Day.

"He put his hand down my pants and into my underwear," the boy said as the priest, Peter Kiarie, shook his head at the defense table. "I felt violated and uncomfortable and I wanted to go home."

The boy delivered his testimony softly and deliberately, often biting or pursing his lips after a question.

Prosecutor Kenneth Appelbaum told jurors in his opening statement that the boy, who loves video games and Harry Potter, has been in therapy since the incident.

Kiarie, 41, is a member of the Holy Ghost Fathers religious order of missionary priests and met the boy and his mother during a visit to Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christian Church in Woodside, Queens, where the mother worked.

Earlier yesterday, the boy's mother testified before Judge Michael Aloise that on June 16, Kiarie and the boy begged her to let them go to Rockaway Beach.

Once they were alone, the boy testified, Kiarie repeatedly groped him, once pulling his pants down.

"You were a 12-year-old boy, you're a big boy, you know what you're doing, why didn't you say anything?" defense attorney Salvatore Canonico asked.

He later glared at the boy and asked whether the incident really occurred.

"Yes," the boy answered quietly.

The trial continues today, with Kiarie expected to testify. He is free on $50,000 bail and could face two years in prison if convicted.


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