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A missionary Catholic priest from Africa who had been visiting a Woodside church for only a few days was arrested Tuesday night for allegedly molesting a 12-year-old boy during a Fathers Day outing to the Rockaways, the Queens district attorney said.
Peter Kiare, 41, was expected to be arraigned Wednesday in Queens County Criminal Court on charges of sex abuse, forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child, DA spokesman Patrick Clark said.
If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail as well as a $1,000 fine.
Kiare arrived from Kenya on June 11 and stayed at the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians Church at 70-31 48th Ave., where he was waiting to begin a missionary appeal trip to parishes across the country.
He was just there as a matter of hospitality and was scheduled to begin traveling this past weekend, said Sister Bernadette Kenny, the attorney representing his missionary order, the Holy Ghost Fathers of Ireland.
But when the allegations surfaced, the church pastor moved Kiare to a residence for priests that is not connected to any parish at 48-49 37th St. in Long Island City, where he was arrested by detectives from the Special Victims Squad around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Clark said.
The missionary priest had taken the 12-year-old victim on a trip to Rockaway Beach on June 16 Fathers Day with the permission of his family, church members whom he befriended during his first five days staying there, Clark said.
But Kiare allegedly sexually abused the boy by groping him, sexually touching him and attempting to kiss him during the sojourn, Clark said.
The boy returned home and recounted the episode to his mother, who told the officials at the church who then contacted the office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Clark said.
Frank DeRosa, the spokesman for the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, said Kiare had no association with the diocese.
He had no permission to function as a priest and he didnt function as a priest, he said.
Kenny said the allegations came as a shock.
His superiors in Kenya have been contacted and they were very surprised at the allegation because there were no prior indication of any problem, Kenny said. They actually considered him an excellent candidate for doing the mission appeals in the United States.
Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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