Rev. Sylvestre Obwaka Found Not Guilty Of Sexual Assault
A Presque Isle County jury has decided Father Sylvestre Obwaka is not guilty of the sexual assault of a fellow priest, who was sleeping in his home in February.
The verdict was handed down Thursday evening.
9&10’s Aaron Parseghian was in court Thursday where Obwaka took the stand in his own defense.
“He was another priest trying to give me an understanding,” said Obwaka.
Before the jury acquitted him of first and third degree sex crimes, Father Sylvestre Obwaka told his side of the story on the witness stand.
He says he had consensual sex with the alleged victim.
During cross examination the prosecuting team questioned whether any basis of consent was discussed between Obwaka and the alleged victim.
“He never said please come into bed with or come into bed with me he never said anything verbally to invite you into his bed, did he?” asked Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Kwiatkowski
Obwaka- he did not
Kwiatkowski- He did not make any motion to come in his bed did he?
Obwaka- he did not make a motion
In closing arguments, the defense said the alleged victim only sought charges because he was ashamed of what had happened
“He was disgusted with himself, well of course he’d feel that way even after consensual sex, he broke his vows, he sinned, he wants a loophole out of mortal sin,” said Defense Attorney Matthew Wojda
The prosecutor said the alleged victim came forward to help others
“He had the strength and courage to do that, why? Because he made this fantastic cover story? That’s preposterous, why because he didn’t want other to be victimized,” said Prosecutor Ken Radzibon
At the end of the trial the jury found the defendant Sylvestre Obwaka not guilty on both counts of criminal sexual conduct.
He was released from custody following the verdict.