BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Bishop accused of molesting boy

This YouTube grab shows the St Elias Monastery, in Chwayya. (The Daily Star/YouTube grab)

BEIRUT: A Lebanese bishop was accused of sexually molesting a young boy at the Mar Elias Monastery in the Metn town of Dhour Choueir, according to local media reports.

Two years after the incident, the case of Bishop Costantine Kayyal was filed in civil court Sunday, not with church authorities. According to the boy’s father, who spoke to the local media station LBCI, the 10-year-old was molested in the monastery in April 2012.

He said that Kayyal had approached his son two years ago, nude underneath his robes, and tried to kiss him several times. Right after the incident, the father said he had seen his son run screaming into the courtyard outside the monastery. The boy eventually told his father what had happened with the bishop.

The case comes just a few months after that of Lebanese priest Mansour Labaki, who was sentenced to a life of penitence and isolation following a conviction for sexually abusing at least three children, as well as soliciting sex. Archimandrite Panteleimon Farah was also sentenced to a life of isolation at the Hamatoura Monastery in the town of Kousba following what the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Byblos and Batroun called “violations of Christian life.”

The boy’s father, whose identity was not disclosed, said that the judiciary had postponed court sessions in light of Kayyal’s absence, which he blamed on the controversial political and religious dimensions of the case.

The family has German citizenship, allowing them to transfer the case to a human rights court there or to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 21, 2014, on page 4.

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