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‘Students didn’t consent to be kissed by Anglican Priest, they were clearly ambushed’ – Director of FIDA-Ghana

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Director of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Ghana), Afua Brown-Eyeson, says the three students of St Monica’s College of Education who were kissed by an Anglican Priest in a viral video were ambushed.

Speaking on The Law on JoyNews, she explained that none of the girls while walking to the stage had any idea they woiuld be kissed, neither did they consent to it prior to the act.

Afua Brown-Eyeson, who is also a women’s rights advocate, stated that it is unfortunate people are making light of the kiss stating that the girls were not underage.

“Clearly they were on stage for a particular reason. They were not informed that they were going to be kissed, it was a clear ambush. There was definitely no consent, not for girl one not for girl two and not for girl three. They all didn’t consent, they were not there to be kissed,” she told Samson Lardy Anyenini, host of the show.

The director of FIDA-Ghana’s comment comes after a video, in which a Priest is seen kissing some students at St Monica’s College of Education in Asante Mampong in the Ashanti Region, went viral.

In the amateur footage, the Priest, Father Balthazar Obeng, is seen kissing three female students before a cheering congregation.

However, the third lady seemed unwilling but eventually gave in to be kissed. The Anglican Priest at the centre of the kissing controversy was later relieved of his duties.

Following that, the Executive Director to the Anglican Metropolitan Archbishop of Ghana, Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah, revealed that a Committee has been set up to investigate the conduct of the Priest. They will provide a comprehensive report that will inform the next action for both the Church and School.

Rev. Father Balthazar Obeng Larbi has since apologized for his conduct.

Rev, Fr. Balthazzr Obeng Larbi

He said his action was to “add a human touch” to the appreciation the Level 300 students who doubled as members of the school’s Chaplaincy Board and had performed extraordinarily well were being shown.

That notwithstanding, he admits there is no justification for the conduct.

“Accordingly, I am sincerely sorry for my actions seen in the video. I seemed to have taken a number of things for granted. I did not think through my behaviour and I admit that the act and its setting are wrong even in the absence of Covid-19.”

However, Afua Brown-Eyeson believes that the priest while apologising for the act should not have given a reason for his actions.

She said that the priest’s reasons for kissing the girls were strange; adding that she was scandalised.

“Another thing I noticed in his statement was that he said he didn’t think through his behaviour, he didn’t say act. So it suggests that he knows that he has a behaviour of doing ‘wrong things’. So if it is a behaviour issue then it is a serious issue  and it is right the Anglican Church has relieved him of his position.”

Also on the show, Legal practitioner Keziah Azumah said the priest’s actions equal harassment per the law.

“Unwanted touch, unwanted commentary, even about how a person looks, how they have dressed, their body parts all of that is indecent assault. If they do not consent to it, it is an assault on them. If they feel uncomfortable with what you are doing, if it affects them emotionally, it is harassment.”

Meanwhile, acting on the advice of the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, authorities of St. Monica’s College of Education also lodged a case of sexual assault against the embattled Anglican priest who kissed students of the school.

The school’s management team and the three victims of Rev. Fr. Larbi’s kissing expedition submitted written statements to the police on Friday morning.

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