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Dark past of bishop sent to jail for 75 years : The Standard

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Joseph Agutu, a bishop who was sentenced for 75 years in prison by a Kisumu magistrate’s court.

The self-styled church minister who was jailed for 75 years last week for defiling three orphaned girls and infecting one with HIV had served a jail term for another child abuse incident.

As Rev Joseph Agutu cools his heels at Kodiaga Prison this Christmas Day, The Standard has confirmed that besides last week’s jail term, he had in 2010 been jailed for 20 years over a similar offence but was released following an appeal after spending three years in prison.
Vulnerable children
Details have emerged of how the bishop had been sexually exploiting vulnerable children under his care.

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In 2010, he was found guilty of defiling a minor and was sentenced to 20 years in jail by then Oyugis Senior Principal Magistrate Christopher Yalwala.
Agutu, however, served only three years in prison before he was released after he lodged a successful appeal in the case in which he was accused of defiling a 15-year-old girl.
In what resembles a well-orchestrated plot, according to court records, Agutu accessed his victims under the guise of sponsoring their education.
The convicted peadophile was a director of an orphanage in Oyugis and a bishop of Faith Commission Ministry in 2010, but shifted base to Kisumu after he was released from prison.
Investigations by The Standard have also established that Agutu was also the director of another orphanage in Kisumu.

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Through the orphanages, the bishop solicited funds from donors and well-wishers to feed the orphans.
Infecting victim
But there was more than met the eye. Agutu was accused of defiling the children under his care and even infecting one of them with HIV.
His victims were girls aged between 14 and 15. He had an office in the same house where the girls slept.
In the 2010 case, the court heard how Agutu duped the girl who had gone to seek sponsorship and defiled her in his office in 2007.

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The girl, who was among the five witnesses who testified against him, narrated how the bishop demanded sex from her as commitment for the sponsorship. She said the man took her to bed, tore her clothes and defiled her even as she struggled with him and cried.
The teenager later informed her step-mother about the incident the following morning after she returned home.
Her step-mother informed her parents, who later reported the incident to the area chief.
Consequently, Agutu was arrested and charged with defilement.
Denied defiling

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In his defence, Agutu denied having defiled the girl and claimed he only found her crying while sitting on a stone when he returned from a meeting.
However, he was found guilty and jailed for 20 years.
In 2013, the High Court in Kisii released him after a judge ruled that the defilement charge sheet was defective.
Last Tuesday, the disgraced bishop was handed 75 years by Senior Resident Magistrate Pauline Mbulika after he was found guilty of three counts of defilement and deliberate transmission of HIV.
Agutu, who hid his face from cameras as the police escorted him out of the cell to a waiting prison bus, had maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings.
In the suit, Agutu had been accused of committing the offences between April and July 2016. One of the girls is aged 14 while the other two are 15.
He faced an alternative charge of touching the private parts of the minors.
Four prosecution witnesses pointed an accusing finger at the bishop, with the minors recounting the ordeals the man subjected them to.
One of the minors, an orphan, narrated to the court how the bishop lured her through her grandmother.
“My grandmother took me to him and he promised to sponsor my education. My grandmother went back home and left me with him at the church,” said the minor.
The bishop allegedly ushered her to a single room, which had one bed and an extra mattress. The court heard that the bishop shared the room with the three girls.
Defiled girls
She told the court that after a while, the bishop defiled her and called another girl and defiled her too, as she slept on the floor.
She said they cried throughout the ordeal.
The court heard that the following morning, the bishop refused to allow them to go to school, but instead ordered them to go to church.
Agutu denied all the charges and claimed there was no proof to support the allegations that had been leveled against him.
In her ruling, Mbulika said the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt, adding that medical reports presented in court indicated that one of the minors had been infected with HIV.
Handed 20 years
The magistrate handed the bishop 20 years each for the first three counts and 15 years for deliberate transmission of HIV. The sentences will run consecutively.
The church leader said he would appeal the sentence.
And just like the defence he lodged at the Court of Appeal in 2013, Agutu cited defective charge sheet as part of the ground he would be relying on to have the case dismissed.

Defilement CaseBishopSexual AssaultHIVJoseph Agutu





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