Four times 'men of God' preyed on women and children
The last place anyone would expect harm to come to women and children is at a place of worship - but sadly, every once in a while, such a narrative makes the headlines.
While the rape trial of Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso in the Port Elizabeth High Court has been the most prominent in the media, it is certainly not an isolated case. Here are four other times that so-called pastors have been at the centre of sex abuse allegations where women and children were the victims.
1. Bishop gets life for child rape
In October 2018, the bishop of the Trinity Apostolic Church was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of raping a teenage girl.
Bishop Jabu Ndaba is believed to have sexually assaulted the teenager for about two years, ending in November 2016. According to a TimesLIVE report last year, the victim and her mother were members of the bishop's congregation.
2. KZN pastor accused of raping four girls
A church leader from Durban allegedly repeatedly raped four girls, all members of his church, between 2015 and 2018.
Police said the 35-year old pastor "singled out young girls who were raised by single parents, appearing to play a fatherly role".
One victim claimed the rape happened after she asked the bishop to pray for her when she was ill. "The pastor prayed for her and then drove her to his residence, where he allegedly raped her," said Colonel Thembeka Mbele after the man's arrest in October 2018.
3. Ten women claim Klerksdorp pastor raped them
A group of women who attended the Jehovah Shammah International Ministries in Klerksdorp accused their bishop of sexually assaulting them in February 2018.
Bishop TJ Pitso's former personal assistant supported the claims made by the women against their spiritual leader. One woman told police she even fell pregnant as a result of the rape.
4. Sex-pest preacher allegedly killed by victim's father
In the first week of 2019, an Italian father became the subject of an investigation into the murder of an ex-convict sex-pest preacher.
The preacher raped the man's two young daughters and served more than 11 years in prison for the crime. A month after the preacher's release, the father is believed to have hired hitmen to gun down the ex-convict. The murder investigation continues.