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East Timor Judge puts ex-priest under preventive detention in Bekora prison

Tempo Timor - December 10, 2019

Dili – This morning judge Eusebio Xavier Vitor decided that an ex-priest R.D.is sent to Dili main prison in Becora for preventive detention. R.D., who originally is from the United States, has been accused of sexually abusing children in the shelter Topu Honis in Oecusse which he set up in the early nineties.

Currently he is under investigation in Timor-Leste. R. D. is the first ever in East Timor History a priest have been dismissed from his Priesthood and investigated and detained in Prison.

Meanwhile the vice-minister for social solidarity Signi Chandrawati Verdial, the commissioner for children's rights and Peter Dikos, the SVD procurator general in Rome, are visiting Topu Honis to talk with the children who are living in the shelter in the coastal hamlet of Mahata.

Initially this morning there were emotional scenes at the shelter when the children refused to let them in. The children said they would only open the gate if the ex-priest would be there.

But later the vice-minister, the commissioner and Dikos could enter the shelter.

Last year November R.D. was dismissed from the clerical state by the Vatican and from the SVD congregation after the church found him guilty of sexually abusing children in Topu Honis.

The criminal investigations and legal proceedings in Timor-Leste however drag on, father Dikos told Tempo Timor.

R.D.is being portrayed as a person who contributed to the struggle for independence of Timor-Leste. But in an interview with Tempo Timor last February the ex-priest said that he only got involved in 1999.

Source: https://www.tempotimor.com/en/1437-east-timor-judge-puts-ex-priest-under-preventive-detention-in-bekora-prison