Cape Town - A Lavender Hill teenager who was sexually assaulted by her Old Apostolic Church (OAC) youth pastor has spoken out for the first time, expressing relief following the guilty verdict on Ashley Marinus.
The 19-year-old matriculant said the verdict by the Wynberg Regional Court had brought closure. The church has sacked Marinus.
Marinus had seen the teenager taking a picture of herself in the mirror when he proceeded to touch her inappropriately and, in other incidents, would make inappropriate remarks and advances, including trying to kiss her, she told the Cape Times.
She said the past few months have been traumatic for her as she wasn’t feeling her usual self.
“I even stopped going to church just to get away from secondary victimisation. Although I did not receive one yet, I would appreciate an apology, especially from the Marinus family. They made me feel as if I had done something wrong,” she said.
Earlier this year, the OAC came under fire from child rights activists for allowing Marinus to join a week-long youth trip to Botswana.
The church defended its decision, saying it would not revoke or suspend his pastoral duties until he was found guilty.
“I am very happy that this is over. It was a bittersweet moment because, although Marinus had to be proved guilty for what he put me through, I feel sorry for his family who had to go through this process with him. He has daughters who are in the same youth group as I am and it couldn’t have been easy for them,” she said.
The teenager said she attended the conviction hearing along with her mother, family and community supporters.
“When I heard he was guilty, I wanted to jump up and scream because, finally, people will believe me. The elder pastor in our church was informed about the charges Marinus faced yet they still allowed him to join the youth trip,” she said.
Commenting on behalf of the OAC Western Cape district, Edrick Ipland said the church would look at implementing a child protection policy.
Marinus will be sentenced on October 19.