Case goes to jury after three-day trial

The trial of a Rogers City priest accused of criminal sexual conduct (CSC) first degree causing personal injury and CSC third degree using force or coercion is now in the hands of the jury.

Rev. Sylvestre Obwaka took the stand in his own defense Thursday (July 20) morning and answered cross examination questions in the afternoon. Closing arguments ended around 3:30 p.m. Thursday and after final instructions from the Honorable Judge Scott L. Pavlich, the jury will now deliberate.

Rev. Sylvestre Obwaka testified on his own behalf on the last day of his trial. (Photo by Richard Lamb)
Rev. Sylvestre Obwaka testified on his own behalf on the last day of his trial. (Photo by Richard Lamb)

Approximately 60 people packed the courtroom on a hot summer day to watch the trial unfold.

The trial began Tuesday afternoon and continued through Thursday in 53rd Circuit Court in Rogers City.

Obwaka, a priest at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Rogers City has been placed on administrative leave.
The alleged incident involving a younger priest occurred in the early morning hours of Feb. 1 and was reported to the Michigan State Police Feb. 17.

The Advance will update this story as it unfolds.