Outcry over ‘pulpit rapes’

2009-05-03 00:00

Members of the Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Woodlands want their church closed following the rape of two young sisters at the church allegedly by a high-ranking officer in the church, now in his mid twenties.

One of the rapes is alleged to have taken place on the pulpit.

Church members yesterday protested outside the church, saying they want justice to be served, and called for the family of the rapist to leave the church.

The mother of the two girls that were raped said the first time her elder daughter was raped, she didn’t report it to the police as they were afraid of the man that raped her. Her daughter was 12 years old at the time; she is now 18. The family live on the church premises.

She told The Witness that the church decided to handle the case as her daughter was traumatised and she didn’t want her to go through the pain of being interrogated once again about the incident, which took place inside the church. The young girl had gone to lock the doors of the church when the man raped her in the pulpit.

“This year, he raped my other daughter, who is 13 years old. My daughter was coming home from school when he followed her into the house, pushed her inside and raped her,” she said.

She added that the rapist’s mother begged her not to take any legal action. “When I reported the matter to the police, the rapist’s father [also a high-ranking church official] attacked and assaulted me saying that my family should leave the church premises.”

The father of the two daughters who were raped said the rapist was fortunate to escape his wrath.

“He is lucky I am now saved, otherwise I would have done something stupid; but I don’t want to go back to that life again.”

Rachel Hemmero who is also a church member said there have been other cases of sexual harassment in the church but that the parents of the child that was harassed had withdrawn the case because they felt sorry for the person that harassed their child.

Pastor Arthur Morrison, who has been with the church since it was founded, said he was forced to resign as he wanted to stand up for what was right. He also confirmed that the church is “out of hand” as people are being raped and beaten.

Gender Ernest also resigned as a church member, saying he too was fed-up about the rapes, molestation and beatings inside the church.

He described the church as a “disgrace” and added that almost every week there are beatings inside the church - punishment meted out to those who don’t pay their rent on time.

Police spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram confirmed that a case of rape has been opened.

The Witness was reliably informed that the alleged rapist is on the run and has been hiding out in a house in Woodlands. Attempts by police to apprehend him there have been unsuccessful said sources who allege he takes off to avoid arrest.

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