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Priest Hell-bent on Clearing His Name

Priest Hell-bent on Clearing His Name
February 22
15:00 2019

On Wednesday, Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte explained that anybody who has sexually assaulted a minor in Belize, would be pursued and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, not matter who that perpetrator is. And since the allegation surfaced this week about an incident involving Catholic Priest Father Oliver Smalls and a minor in Richmond, Virginia, USA in 1970, the accused has also begun to pursue vindication with as much vigor.

The priest’s attorney, Leeroy Banner, told the Reporter today that Father Smalls has been abroad on other matter not related to the allegation, but that as soon as he returns to Belize, they will discuss how they will proceed, with what legal action and against whom. But the person most likely to face a lawsuit is Bishop Lawrence Nicasio and the Catholic Church for publishing the contents of a letter from the Richmond Catholic Church, which accuses Father Smalls of sexually assaulting a minor in that US state.

Banner said that while the Church brings up the matter of an alleged assault, Bishop Nicasio, as well as the Richmond Police and the Catholic Church in Richmond are also aware of the results of a polygraph test, which indicated that Father Smalls was innocent of the offence.

But Attorney Audrey Matura, a human rights activist, has since opined that the Catholic Church would not publish the names of its members if there were not some convincing material against those accused.

Banner told us that there is no criminal charge against Father Smalls in Belize nor in Richmond. But while that might be the case, Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte warned everyone, including clergy members that once there is evidence in Belize against someone, regardless of their profession, vocation or status in society, the law will seek them out, but only on the premise that there is credible evidence in Belize against them.

“We would go after anybody who would commit any crime. However, like everybody else, we can’t just recklessly and irresponsibly cast aspersions on people against who we have any evidence that they have committed any crime but I assure you, if anybody, including a priest were to commit a crime in this country, it wouldn’t matter that that person is a priest,” Peyrefitte cautioned.

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