NIGERIAN-born Catholic priest Cyprian Duru has been suspended from ministering in the Diocese of Pittsburgh in the US after being accused of rape by 68 year-old retired English teacher Kathy Coll.
Father Duru, who is now facing legal action over the claims, has also been banned from presenting himself as a priest or wearing clerical garb. In her law suit, Ms Coll detailed how Father Duru stopped by her home in December 2016 on the pretence of giving her a Christmas card and allegedly raped her.
She claimed that when she offered him a cold drink, he followed her to her family room, overpowered her and assaulted her as she screamed for him to stop. Since then, Ms Coll claimed she has been trying to seek healing from the trauma of rape, adding that the shame, anxiety and depression were daunting.
“The hardest part was telling my pastor, who sat and cried with me and then notified the diocese,” Ms Coll recalled. Last week, she filed a suit against the St Teresa of Avila Roman Catholic Church, the Pittsburgh diocese and Bishop David Zubik.
Ms Coll maintained that she was disappointed that district attorney Stephen Zappala’s office said prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence to pursue charges. However, the retired high school English teacher said her biggest disappointment was learning that a church she continues to love and turned to for help had scant resources for abused women.
“There were visits by the Pittsburgh Diocese Trauma Team to my house offering prayer and help to find a therapist but I found out they really don’t have anything for women who have been abused,” Ms Coll said. She added that a therapist the diocese recommended within minutes of meeting her declared that she was depressed, anxious and suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
Eventually, however, she found a therapist who helped her marshal her strength. As she regained her footing in the world, the widowed mother of two adult sons resolved to doing something to help others.