A former youth leader at the Common Ground Church in Rondebosch, Cape Town, has admitted to posing as a teenage girl and enticing minors under his guidance to send him pornographic images, ending a two-year case.
Dubbed the "porn pastor", Kent Locke, 28, will spend the next decade behind bars after entering a plea and sentencing agreement on 47 charges relating to seven victims between 12 and 17 years old.
These include encouraging, enabling, instructing or persuading a child to perform a sexual act; compelled self-sexual assault; sexual grooming of children and possession of child pornography.
Locke, who was appointed as a youth leader at the church on January 1, 2015, was responsible for maintaining a database of high school pupils and regularly updating their particulars.
"I electronically communicated with high school students - the complainants - to whom I had access by using a false identity and pretending to be a teenage girl," he admitted in court papers.
Locke said he established a "chat relationship" with his victims and forwarded pornographic images of the fictitious teenage girl in order to entice them to send images of themselves to him.
"When the complainants resisted sending more images, I then threatened to expose the child pornographic material that they sent me to others and thereby used coercive methods with the complainants in order to compel them to continue forwarding images to me."
The boys confided the sexual exploitation to him as their group leader, Locke said, adding he had advised them to continue sending photos to the "girl".
He was arrested on September 9, 2017, after a complaint had been lodged that he had failed to report his knowledge of a sexual offence being committed against a child.
Cellphones, flash drives, a tablet and laptop were seized and authorities found the pornography.
Six months later, while out on R1 000 bail, he was again arrested.
Locke admitted that while on bail, he targeted a new set of children using the same method.
This time, he was denied bail.
On Tuesday, Locke was sentenced in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court to 15 years, of which five years were suspended for a period of five years.
This after he reportedly did an about turn a month ago when he declared he intended to stand trial in hopes of a lesser sentence that he had agreed to after almost a year of negotiations with the State.
Mitigating circumstances considered during sentencing included that Locke was "severely suffering himself, because of him having been molested and/or sexually abused at the age of three or four years".
He was also undergoing psychotherapy, paid for by him and his family.