Catholic Priest in Tanzania Suspended Over Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors

Fr. Sostenes Bahati Soka. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Fr. Sostenes Bahati Soka, a member of the Clergy of Tanzania’s Catholic Diocese of Moshi, has been stopped from practicing his Priestly ministry over allegations of sodomizing a section of children who were preparing for their First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

On Monday, September 26, Fr. Soka appeared before three judges at the Resident Magistrate's Court in Moshi, facing three counts of sexually assaulting three children, two of them aged 12 and another aged 13, all three at St. Dionysius the Areopagite Parish of Moshi Diocese where he was Parish Priest, The Citizen, a Tanzanian media entity, has reported. 

“The children are pupils whose identity has been protected are in Standard Six and Form One who were attending the teachings for the first communion and confirmation,” The Citizen reported Tuesday, September 27, adding, “It is claimed that the clergyman would give each child between Sh3,000 (US$1.28) and Sh5,000 (2.14) at the end of his exploits.”

In its Thursday, September 29 report, The Citizen quotes the Secretary General of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), Fr. Charles Kitima, announcing the decision of the Local Ordinary of Moshi Diocese, Bishop Ludovick Joseph Minde, to suspend Fr. Soka.

“For now, the Bishop has stopped him from providing priestly services until the court makes its decision. After that, other decisions about his priesthood will be made,” Fr. Kitima has been quoted as saying in the September 29 report.


He adds, “Justice will take its course and the church will cooperate to ensure that those who have been wronged are treated fairly.”

The TEC Secretary General further says, “The Catholic Church is against acts of sexual abuse of children, because it is supposed to be a safe place for all people.”

“We admit that this is a problem, we have more than 3,000 priests in this country, but among them, you find those with weaknesses and shortcomings, that's why this happens,” he added.

In the September 29 report, Fr. Kitima says the Church considers the issue of sexual abuse of minors “a bad thing because it causes great doubts among parents and children.”

“When children go for (First Holy) Communion teachings, they hope that they will find someone who will nurture them spiritually, but when they are treated with things contrary to their goals, it becomes a big disappointment,” the Tanzanian Priest says.

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Fr. Kitima continues, “We as a church are disappointed with the bad behavior of individuals, which goes against what we are expected to build – to build a person with good morals.”

He says that Fr. Soka will remain suspended “until the allegations against him are cleared.”

In the first country, Fr. Soka allegedly sodomized a 12-year-old child; the second count involved a 13-year-old child, while the third count was about another 12-year-old child, The Citizen has reported. 

The Tanzania entity has also reported that September 26 court “said the bail is open and asked the defendant to have one guarantor who will sign a bond of Sh2.5 million (US$1,068.00).”

Fr. Soka is said to have “fulfilled the bail conditions of having two sureties”, The Citizen reported, adding that the case was adjourned to October 18.


Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.