Methodist Church defrocks Minister accused of rape

A former Methodist Church Minister, who has been charged following the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl, has been defrocked after church leaders said he confessed to the alleged crime in an internal investigation. 

The General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Samoa, Reverend Dr. Eteuati Epa Tuioti, said the Minister was dismissed following an internal investigation.

"We sent the Chairman of the Upolu East Synod [to oversee the investigation]," he said. 

“The Chairman called the people involved to discuss and that was when the Church Minister confessed to the allegations.

“The findings of the report based on the investigation were given to me on the next day.

“The Ministerial meeting endorsed the decision to dismiss the church Minister of his role permanently.

“There is a temporary church Minister who is taking his place at the moment but we have also chosen the new church Minister to be a permanent replacement at the last Sunday of October."

He added that there was a Ministerial meeting held last Wednesday. 

The President of the Methodist Church, Reverend Faulalo Leti, attended.

The Minister is currently remanded in custody. 

Rev. Tuioti said the church's standard procedure is to quickly instigate an investigation in response to allegations of any kind. 

“Once there is a report filed in relation to any church Minister, [whoever] they are, we immediately conduct a thorough investigation,” he said.

“[The church] takes action immediately and we do not wait around because we are concerned about the spiritual lives of the people.”

Rev. Tuioti said that Methodist church Ministers are called to save people’s souls. Once they fail then they are replaced. 

“We care about the people but the church Ministers are there for a mission and a purpose but if they fail then we do our job to replace them immediately.," he said. 

The Deputy Police Commissioner, Papali'i Monalisa Tiai-Keti, in response to e-mailed questions from the Samoa Observer, said that the former Minister is scheduled to appear in court for mention on October 28.

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