Church on the defensive over Father Kizito saga By Lucianne LimoThe Catholic Church was is reeling from allegations of a sex scandal against one of its senior clergymen with the potential of shaking the church to its core. A group of young boys alleged that one of the churchs best-known benefactor missionaries, Fr Renato Kizito Sesana, had sexually abused them during his over 20-year tenure as a charity worker in Kenya. The shocking revelations were aired in the Monday KTN Prime Time news bulletin only a day before the marking of the Day of the African Child. The story broke as an 80-year-old Legio Maria sect priest was jailed for life in Kisumu for defiling a minor. Allegations by the boys who accused Fr Kizito, represented by City lawyer Stephen Kibunja, were backed by still and video pictures of the alleged lewd acts. But Fr Kizito did not take the accusations lying down. He came out fighting even as some 22 bishops came out in a joint rare reaction to keep in check the potential damage the story could cause the more than 4 million-strong church. Fr Renato Kizito Sesana. He refuted claims he sodomised boys under his care. Led by Nairobi Archbishop John Cardinal Njue, the bishops issued a joint statement promising to do everything possible to investigate the matter to its final conclusion. Fr Kizito, who runs shelter homes in Nairobi under the name Koinonia, vehemently denied molesting boys under his care and blamed his former board of trustees of waging a dirty war against him to take over properties worth Sh3 billion. His lawyer "Let me state very clearly. I have not sodomised any child ever in Kenya or anywhere else. I am ready to face anybody who can prove the opposite," he said. The priest, who appeared in the company of his lawyer Mr Kioko Kilukumi spoke to the press at his Shalom House at Dagoretti Corner, off Ngong Road. He was also accompanied by Mr Giarn Marco, the president of an Italian NGO that has supported Koinonia for the last 15 years. Kizito said he had returned from Italy recently where he had been since January after he was informed of the allegations against him. Footage "I have no comment on the footage. I havent seen it. It is impossible that there is footage of the boys and me," Kizito said yesterday. "There are people hell bent on taking over my properties and the last obstacle for them is me," he added. "This is a case of blackmail, defamation and extortion. If I had not come these people would have transferred the ownership of Koinonia within a month," he said, without revealing names.Nairobi Archbishop John Cardinal Njue (centre) consults with Bishop Sulumeti of Kakamega (right) and Coenlius Schilder of Ngong at a press conference in Nakuru. [PHOTOS: LUCAS THUO/STANDARD] Fr Kizito claimed his woes began in October when an e-mail was circulated depicting him naked, with a young adult. "It is impossible to say if the picture was of a man or a woman. Those pictures were clearly doctored using photo editing software and so I did not accord them much importance," added he. Molested He went on: "These people came very close to transferring all the properties into their names. He said the boys who claimed he molested them had been bribed to testify against him. At Kivuli Centre where the alleged acts were performed, the Administrator George Baridi denied knowledge of such acts. But a trustee of Koinonia Michael Owiso, who was among the whistleblowers, yesterday insisted the allegations were true. "If this is what is happening I have responsibility to take action," Mr Owiso said. Formal complaints Njue, who read the statement in Nakuru, said: "We wish to take this opportunity to express our shock at what we saw last night in one of the television stations concerning allegation of sexual abuse by a priest," he said. He said the Church could not condone such behaviour but hinted it might have received unverified complaints on the issue. "We had not received formal complaints but what do you do when you receive unsigned complaints from anonymous people?" Cardinal Njue asked when replying to questions from journalists. wazungu wameswaga mpaka wafrika!!!tusubiri na kuona kama wafrika wenywe hawakuwa wakiwafanyia wafrika weziwao huo kamchezo .