Crime News

‘Porn Pastor’ faces 10 years in prison after signing plea bargain

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – The Common Ground Church youth leader nicknamed the “Porn Pastor”, could be jailed for an effective 10 years if a plea bargain he signed on Friday is accepted by the presiding magistrate.

This surprise turn of events came following more than two hours of consultation with his lawyer morning before the 27-year-old was due to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court to plead to 47 sex abuse charges.

When the charges were put to him three weeks ago at his last appearance, he took the prosecution by surprise by ditching almost a year of plea bargain negotiations and declaring his intention to stand trial in an attempt to secure a lesser sentence than the one he agreed to on Friday: 15 years imprisonment with five years suspended.

His change of heart may see him plead guilty to 47 charges relating to seven boy victims between the ages of 12 and 17. They include: encouraging, enabling, instructing or persuading a child to perform a sexual act; compelled self sexual assault; sexual grooming of children; using a child for child pornography; failure to immediately report a sexual offense against a child; exposing or displaying or causing the exposure or display of child pornography or pornography to a child; and possession of child pornography.

The charge sheet revealed he was appointed youth leader at the Common Ground Church Group in Rondebosch in January 2015.

As ministry leader and pastor to high school congregants, he “was responsible for keeping a database of all the high school pupils and for updating all details regularly. The updates included contact details.

“The accused electronically communicated with high schoolers – the complainants to whom he had access – by using a false identity and pretending to be a teenage girl.

“The accused forwarded pornographic images of the fictitious teenage girl to the complainants to entice them to forward pornographic images of themselves to him.

“When the complainants resisted sending more images, the accused threatened to expose the child pornographic material to others and thereby used coercive methods with the complainants to compel them to continue forwarding him images of a pornographic nature.

“The complainants confided the sexual exploitation to the accused.

“On September 9, 2017, the accused was approached by Warrant Officer Rowan Andrews, from the provincial detectives, Serial and Electronic Crime Investigation with regards to a complaint that he failed to report his knowledge of a sexual offense being committed against a child.

“During this interview the accused was arrested and one SanDisk flash drive; one Transcend flash drive; one Apple iPhone; one cellphone; one Six drive; one Tablet; one external hard drive; and one Apple Laptop were found. After forensic investigation of the aforesaid electronic devices it was found that they contained images of child pornography,” the charge sheet revealed.

Source Weekend Argus

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