Priest Charged with Child Molestation

By Gregg MacDonald
Fairfax Times
July 20, 2010

A Kenyan priest working in West Virginia was arrested in Fairfax County last week for allegedly sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

On July 8, Felix C. Owino was arrested in Herndon on one count of aggravated sexual battery, according to Fairfax County police. Police responded to the home on Franklin Farm Road, where Owino, 46, was accused of touching the girl inappropriately, said Bud Walker, a Fairfax County police spokesman. Walker said Owino, who remained on the scene and had not attempted to leave, is a longtime acquaintance of the Herndon family. The girl was not physically injured, according to police.

Owino is being detained without bond at the Adult Detention Center in Fairfax County. A hearing is set for Sept. 2, according to the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia. No attorney information has yet been made available. Owino's charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine, Walker said.

According to the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia, Owino served as associate pastor at St. Paul's in Weirton. The diocese posted a statement on its website saying Owino has been suspended.

Owino is affiliated with the Apostles of Jesus, the first African congregation of Catholic priests and brothers, and came to West Virginia last year as an instructor in the philosophy department at Wheeling Jesuit University, according to the diocese.

In a prepared statement, the university said Owino was on summer break from his teaching duties at the time of the incident, and campus authorities did not receive complaints from students about his conduct during his two years at Wheeling Jesuit.

Owino is from Nairobi, Kenya, and was ordained in 1992. He joined the faculty of Wheeling Jesuit in the fall of 2008 and taught for two consecutive years, most recently instructing an online class, university spokeswoman Maureen Zambito said.


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