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Cape Town – The family of a four-year-old Moorreesburg girl has been left devastated after the State yesterday withdrew charges against the pastor and crèche owner who allegedly sexually assaulted their child.

The pastor was scheduled to appear in the Moorreesburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday following his arrest last week.

The suspect was arrested for allegedly sexually molesting the toddler for the second time in five months.

The child’s family opened up to the Cape Times in August following their appeals to authorities to investigate the suspect. They lodged a complaint against him in May.

The toddler’s 23-year-old mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, said she could not believe it when she heard that the suspect had finally been arrested.

“Because of a custody order, my daughter has to spend scheduled time with her father, who is related to this man and when she returned home, she said this man had touched her again.

“We immediately took her to the police and they had us go to the hospital, where she was tested and the results are still not out yet,” she said.

The mother said they could not explain the relief she felt when she heard the suspect was behind bars, but became worried when his name was not on the court roll yesterday.

“We waited all morning and were then told to come back at 2pm.

“When he was supposed to appear, the prosecutor just said there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute this man.

“I can’t believe they would do this to us. How is this right?” she asked.

The child’s grandfather said they could not believe what was happening and were left stunned by the prosecutor’s decision.

The matter would be referred to a senior prosecutor in Cape Town on how to proceed, he said.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said: “The matter was not enrolled as further investigation and consultation was needed in the case.”

Ntabazalila did not confirm if the suspect would be released by deadline.

Provincial Social Development department spokesperson Esther Lewis said they were aware of the allegations.

She said the department continued to monitor the Swartland early childhood development centre, which the suspect owns.

Cape Times