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Death of nun and two children: ex-priest confesses

Bodily remains unearthed in seminary

  • Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • February 6, 2013
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A man claiming to be responsible for the death of three people, whose remains were recently unearthed in the compound of a seminary in East Nusa Tenggara, has turned himself in to police.

A Sikka district police official and head of the criminal investigation unit said Tuesday that Herman Jumat Masan was in their custody and had confessed to being involved in the death of Yosefin Keredok Payong and her two children. Both children were fathered by him.

“He is now being held in the district’s police station for further legal action. We have strong evidence linking him to the loss of three lives,” the official said.

Yosefin, whose identity was confirmed through DNA testing, was reported missing in 2002. She was a nun with the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit at the time of her disappearance.

Her remains and those of her two children were discovered last week in the compound of a school operated by the St Peter Major Seminary in Sikka district. They have since been turned over to family members.

The district police official said Masan arrived on Monday from East Kalimantan, where the former diocesan priest – he left the priesthood in 2008 – was employed.

In a report on Wednesday, the Flores Pos – a publication operated by the Society of the Divine Word – quoted Masan as saying Yosefin had an affair with him while he was a priest and gave birth to their first child in 1999.

"The boy was born alive. Yosefin and I could not bear the social stigma of this birth. I covered his mouth. Eventually he died and I buried him in front of the house in Lela,” Masan told Flores Pos, referring to a facility operated by St Peter Major Seminary.

“The second birth took place around March 2002. The mother could not deliver safely because the placenta could not come out. So both mother and baby died,” Masan told Flores Pos.

He said he had asked Yosefin to go to hospital but that she had refused.

“I dug their graves myself while other community members were attending an event,” he said.

“From the deepest part of my heart, I deliver my apologies to the victims’ family and all related parties for the case I am now facing. I’m ready to take responsibility.”

According to Flores Pos, Masan at the time of the deaths was serving as a priest in Larantuka diocese and also held the post of associate at the seminary's school.

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