A Lancashire court in the United Kingdom, has jailed a Nigerian catholic priest for eight months for sexually assaulting a female and fondling her breast in his room without her consent. He committed the crime at the St Mary’s Priory in Leyland on December 12, 2013.
The priest, Father Hillary Ogom Nwadei, 58, from Isele-Uku Diocese in Delta State, was arrested at the London Heathrow in December 2014 while on a transit flight to the United States, almost a year after he fled the United Kingdom following the crime.
He had been resident at the priory while he studied for his doctorate degree in Law at the University of Central Lancashire. He also did pastoral work during his stay, the judge was told.
According to the prosecutor, David Traynor, Fr. Nwadei, on the day of the crime, had asked his victim to help him pack for a return trip to Nigeria. She agreed and went to his bedroom.
He said: “The defendant leaned against the door of the room, causing it to shut. He was between her and her way out of the room. He asked her for a kiss and she presented him with her cheek, but the defendant said ‘No, a proper kiss’, then kissed her on the lips.
“The victim said she wanted to leave and tried to leave, then the defendant asked if she had any sexual feelings towards him. When she said no the defendant reached up the back of her jumper and undid her bra.
“Then he moved his hands round the front, underneath her jumper and placed his hands under her bra, onto her naked breasts. He fondled her breasts for a matter of seconds. The woman made her excuses to leave, but he was still between her and the door, so she couldn’t leave at that point.”
The court heard he then undid his trousers, exposed himself and made a lewd comment. The woman said she had to leave and Nwadei moved out of the way to let her pass.
He now faces deportation after serving his jail term and will be put on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.
Father Nwadei had before he fled Leyland apologized for his action and was subsequently expelled from the church, his defence told the judge, saying he has learned his lessons.