A Rondebosch youth leader facing 47 sex abuse charges could face a 10-year prison sentence if a plea bargain he agreed to with the State on Friday is accepted by the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, the Weekend Argus reported on Saturday.
Nicknamed "Porn Pastor", who had worked at Common Ground Church, reportedly three weeks ago did an about turn when he declared that he intended to stand trial in hopes of a lesser sentence than the 15-year imprisonment and five years suspended which he had agreed to after almost a year of negotiations with the State.
He faces 47 charges relating to seven male victims aged between 12 and 17. According to the publication, 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.
News24 in September last year reported on the man's arrest on the church premises after he was reported to police by the parents of one of his alleged victims. The child was 14 years old.
The youth leader allegedly pretended to be a girl and exchanged naked photos with the boys via social media.
Police after his arrest said the suspect threatened the boys with "online exposure" when they decided to stop sending photos.
The children would seek advice from him on how to handle the online bullying, and the youth leader would advise them to continue doing what the individual wanted, SAPS said at the time.
The police's Serial and Electronic Crimes Investigation section of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit arrested the pastor following a joint investigation with the Hawks and the US's Homeland Security.
Authorities also seized several electronic items including cellphones, a laptop, a tablet and memory cards.
Six months later, while out on R1 000 bail, he was again arrested, this time for charges related to the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.
The man cannot be identified as his plea has not yet been heard and accepted in court.
- Compiled by Tammy Petersen