Jury Hears Witness Testimony In Rogers City Priest’s Sexual Assault Trial

Rev. Sylvestre Obwaka was arrested in February, accused of sexually assaulting a fellow priest, who was sleeping in his home.

His trial began on Tuesday.

9&10’s Aaron Parseghian was in the courtroom to bring us today’s testimony. 

Audio from Sylvestre Obwaka’s phone call from county jail played in court for the jury

“By the time you are all going to come to know the truth about this matter. Some people are going to be sorry for having put me through all this,” said the recording.

He was on the phone with Bishop Steven Raica asking for the Diocese of Gaylord’s help in bailing him out.

Bishop Raica said he was concerned when Obwaka told him did not remember what happened between him and the alleged victim.

“The lack of recall of what transpired was a concern to me and I wanted to know more about it,” said Raica in a videotaped deposition.

The defense is acknowledging there was sexual contact between Obwaka and the accuser but they say it was consensual.

The prosecution says it was sexual assault. They brought in the alleged victim’s counselor as a witness

“He broke down emotionally he was having difficulty focusing at times. His thoughts seemed to be running quickly and this led me to believe he experienced a traumatic event,” said Larry LaCross the counselor for the alleged victim.

The defense says this trial will come down to who the jury believes

“There’s no science, there’s no lab reports, no science involved in this case, we don’t have any witness who was hanging outside the window, so this is largely going to come down to who the jury believes…my client or the complaining witness," said Obwaka’s attorney Dan White.

The prosecution team denied doing an interview with us

The trial will continue tomorrow and closing statements are expected.

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