File photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives
An Old Apostolic Church (OAC) youth pastor from Lavender Hill has been found guilty of sexual abuse by the Wynberg Magistrate's Court.

The church came under fire from child rights activists for allowing the pastor to accompany a youth group on a week-long trip to Botswana while facing the charges earlier this year.

The church defended its decision, saying it would not revoke or suspend his pastoral duties until he was found guilty.

The church's pastor, who refused to provide his name when approached for comment yesterday, confirmed that the youth pastor was relieved of his duties but declined to give further comment and referred questions to his head office, which did not respond yesterday.

OAC district secretary Edrick Ipland previously said they were aware of the criminal case, adding that: “Should he be found guilty by a court, his office as priest would be suspended with immediate effect, and further action pursued in terms of the church's code of conduct and disciplinary regulations.”

Women and children protection activist Lucinda Evans, who attended Friday's court proceedings, said: “This was never a fight with the church. The church took a positional stance not to revoke his duties immediately when they heard of the charges brought against him.”

During June a silent protest was held at the Retreat Civic with the intention to raise awareness of the incident.

Evans called on the church to adopt a child protection policy to protect victims of sexual abuse.

“Special provisions were made for him to go along on the bus trip to Botswana. However, the victim in his same church were being subjected to secondary victimisation. The victim no longer went to church because of him. We have supported the victim,” Evans said.

The pastor, who is out on bail, will be sentenced on October 19.