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Jakarta Post

Award-winning author accuses priest of abuse, detained after vandalizing parish property

  • Hengky Ola Sura

    The Jakarta Post

Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara   /   Sun, July 5, 2020   /   09:14 am
Award-winning author accuses priest of abuse, detained after vandalizing parish property Felix Nesi (Facebook/Felix Nesi)

Award winning author, Felix K. Nesi, was detained by the Insana Police in Timor Tengah Utara regency, East Nusa Tenggara, on Friday night after allegedly vandalizing a Catholic parish clergy house. 

He admitted to The Jakarta Post on Saturday that he had damaged the property, claiming to have done so because he was angry that the parish had let a priest, whom he accused of “mistreating a woman”, to remain at the church.

Felix, who won a literary award from the Jakarta Arts Council in 2018, said on the phone that he had been released from detention on Saturday. He wrote in a public Facebook post that he had used his motorcycle helmet to damage the windows of the SMK Bitauni vocational school parish clergy house and had thrown chairs. 

On his Facebook account, which he confirmed the authenticity of to the Post, Felix had written earlier this year that he had heard that a Catholic priest had been transferred to the parish after “mistreating a woman” at his previous parish. The SMK Bitauni vocational school has many female students, Felix said. Felix has sibling who attend the school, which is located 700 meters from the clergy house and has opposed the priest’s transfer, fearing there could be new incidents. 

“When I heard [a priest] who had just had a problem with a woman in another parish had been moved to a middle school that is full of women, I came to SMK Bitauni,” he said. “I met with [the priest who serves as the principal]. I told him, please, Father principal, move [the accused priest] away from here,” he wrote on Facebook.

Felix said the principal had told him the accused priest would be transferred again shortly, claiming his short tenure at the school was only for “refreshment”. 

A couple of months later, Felix said he had checked in again and found that the priest, whom he identified as “Romo A”, was still there. He even talked to the priest, telling him to move to a “deserted place to contemplate”. Felix said he conveyed his disappointment that Romo A was still there but that the school principal had assured him that Romo A would be transferred.

“In my novel, Orang-orang Oetimu, I wrote about priests who like to protect other priests who behave rottenly. Am I witnessing this in real life?” he wrote.

On Friday evening, he visited the school and was told by a guard that the priest was still at the school. 

“I was disappointed and overwhelmed with emotion. I had a helmet in my hands. In front of me was a window. So, I smashed the window with my helmet,” he wrote.

“I grabbed the plastic chairs on the verandah and I smashed them to pieces,” he wrote.

Catholic priest Vinsen Manek, the principal of the school, said he could not comment on the incident nor the accusations Felix had made. 

“When it happened, I was not there, I had been on a holiday to my hometown in Malaka since July 1, so I cannot comment,” Vinsen told the Post on Saturday through phone.