Crime News

‘Porn Pastor’ gets 15 years for sexually abusing boys

Kent Locke will spend an effective 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to 47 charges relating to sexual abuse of Cape Town schoolboys.
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CAPE TOWN,South Africa – This is Kent Locke, the Cape Town church youth leader who posed as a scantily clad woman to entice at least 47 teenage boys to send him explicit photographs.

Locke, 29, can finally be named more than two years after his arrest, after he pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 47 sex abuse charges. People accused of sex offences cannot be named until they have pleaded.

The former Common Ground Church youth leader – now dubbed the “porn pastor” – made a plea and sentencing agreement in the Wynberg magistrate’s court. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with five years suspended, and his name was added to the sexual offenders’ register.

Parents of some of Locke’s victims were emotional in court as the magistrate confirmed the plea and sentencing agreement.

Four weeks earlier, the deal appeared to be in jeopardy when Locke suddenly abandoned nearly a year of negotiations on a plea bargain and said he wanted to stand trial in an attempt to secure a lesser sentence.

But on Tuesday he pleaded guilty to 47 charges relating to seven boys between the ages of 12 and 17. They included:

Kent Locke was a school sports and surf photographer.
Kent Locke was a school sports and surf photographer.
  • 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 offence 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.

After boys sent Locke explicit photos, he threatened to post them online unless they sent him more revealing images.

In addition to boys from some of Common Ground’s nine congregations‚ Locke’s victims included pupils at a number of Cape Town boys’ schools, where he presented himself as a sports photographer and a church youth worker.

The Hawks and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched an investigation after the parents of a boy found evidence of the exchanges on their 14-year-old son’s cellphone and alerted church leaders.

Locke, who was a full-time employee of the church‚ was arrested in Rondebosch in September 2017 by Hawks cyber-crime specialist Colonel Yolanda Gair‚ who flew to Cape Town from Pretoria with DHS investigator Johan Claassen.

His two cellphones, a laptop, an external hard drive, a tablet and two flash drives were confiscated and found to contain images of child pornography, according to the charge sheet.

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