SOUTH AFRICA – On Monday, a cleric leader (pastor) from one of the popular churches in South Africa has appeared before Grahamstown Magistrate’s Court on the allegation of raping a 12-year-old.
As per News24, the man cannot be named due to the sensitive nature of the crime, which involves a minor.
Magistrate Sarel Strauss referred the 53-year-old for psychiatric evaluation – and postponed the case to Wednesday March 8, 2023.
The pastor was arrested on 23 February 2023, after he was allegedly caught by a relative raping the girl inside a toilet of her home.
The accused is known to the victim, as he is the foster mother’s friend. They attend the same church.
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Outside court, cutting a lone figure, well-known children’s rights activist Petros Majola picketed and called for no bail.
Majola said he was in disbelief that members of the girl’s church did not show up in court – and that the church had not issued a statement to condemn the alleged incident.
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“I also expected them to come out in numbers in support of the victim. Their silence is shocking. They are not distancing themselves [from the accused] or openly showing support to the victim,” said Majola.
According to the charge sheet, the accused is facing a minimum sentence of life imprisonment.