‘Pulpit rape’ case thrown out

2011-06-30 00:00

A MAN accused of raping a young girl in the pulpit of the Apostolic Faith Mission in Woodlands was discharged at the end of the state’s case because of a lack of evidence.

The Witness reported on the matter when the charges were brought against the man in May 2009 in an article headlined “Outcry over ‘pulpit rapes’”. He cannot be named because one of his accusers was a minor.

His lawyer, Siva Chetty, said four counts of rape were brought against his client. The allegation was that he raped two sisters who were 13 and 20 years old at the time. The one incident was alleged to have taken place seven years before the charges were laid. Chetty said the case bordered on a malicious prosecution as evidence emerged that the charges were made under parental pressure.

He said his client’s relative is an official of the church, and he gave a family notice to vacate the church property because certain payments had not been made. The charges came at a time when the family was to be evicted.

Chetty said the court found vast discrepancies in statements made to the police and in court and some of the evidence was so far-fetched that it could not be taken into account.

The case was a tragic one, he added, as both his client’s family and the church were torn apart and names and reputations ruined.

“In the end the evicted family still had to leave the church property.”

Speaking to The Witness, the mother of the man who was wrongfully accused said she had always kept faith that her son’s name would be cleared and that God would see them through.

She said her main concern is that the incident had brought the Woodlands Apostolic Mission Church into disrepute. “All I want is for the newspaper to clear the church’s name and for the families involved to apologise, not to us, but to the church.”

“My family would also like to thank Pastor Paul Saul, the late Kevin Green, Pastor Keith van Niekerk and Pastor Tyrone Goliath who all stood by us.

“I want to thank my family and my husband’s family for being there for us during this terrible ordeal.

“So much trauma and all so in vain,” the mother added.

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