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Alleged rape victim speaks in court

Alleged rape victim speaks in court

Emotional testimony in a Presque Isle County courtroom Tuesday, in a case involving a roman catholic priest accused of rape.

Father Sylvestre Obwaka has been charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct using force causing personal injury and third degree criminal sexual conduct using force. If convicted, Obwaka faces up to life in prison.

The incident allegedly happened Feb. 1 while a 28-year-old man was staying at Obwaka's house in Rogers City.

According to the Michigan State Police, the 28-year-old man alleges that Obwaka sexually assaulted him while he was sleeping.

On Tuesday during a preliminary hearing, the alleged victim testified and said he knew Father Obwaka.

He says the sexual assault happened following a night that also involved alcohol, and that he woke up to Father Obwaka inappropriately touching him.

"He used his hand to force my shoulder back down on the bed and he started saying things like, 'do you love me? Say that you love me,'" the victim said in court.

The man says he tried to roll over.

At some point in the conversation, he says he said 'no' to the priest, but it wasn't clear in court Tuesday what exactly the man was saying no to.

The defense says that Father Obwaka is innocent. Their case involves proving that the two engaged in consensual sex but that the alleged victim later felt guilty about it and reported the situation to police.

"You spent 15 days shedding your guilt and piling it and piling it on my client didn't you," Attorney Dan White asked the alleged victim.

"No," the man replied.

The courtroom was filled with many of Father Obwaka's supporters.

After listening to the testimony, the judge found probable cause to send the case over to circuit court.

A motion by the defense to grant bond for Father Obwaka was denied, and tonight he remains in the Presque Isle County Jail.

He will be back in court on March 20.

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