Bail for 4 in satanic sex abuse case
Share this article:
Johannesburg - Four people, including a church pastor, accused of conducting a satanic ritual during which a 9-year-old boy was allegedly raped have been released on bail. This was after the State’s case was deemed too weak.
Meanwhile, leaders at the church where the incident allegedly took place have broken their silence over the incident.
The child’s grandmother, grandfather, uncle and the 54-year-old pastor were arrested last month after an investigation by the SAPS Occult Related Crimes Unit.
Police suspect the pastor and relatives of the child brought the then 7-year-old to the Full Gospel Church of God in Witfield, Boksburg, sometime in 2013.
The pastor, grandparents and uncle, clad in red robes and chanting, then allegedly forced the boy to fondle their genitals before the uncle raped the child, the State claimed.
The grandmother was released shortly after last month’s arrests, but the other three continued their bail application at the Germiston Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning.
On Monday, investigating officer Lieutenant-Colonel Hendrik de Jager told the court the four should not be released on bail for the child’s mental well-being and because of reported threats to the victim and his mother.
De Jager said a man who identified himself as a relative, and by name, had phoned him to get off the case and threatened to strangle the boy’s mother. The parents also reported that the uncle’s wife had driven past their house screaming “We’re going to get you!”. He said the boy was frightened of the grandfather for allegedly pointing a gun at him, and threatening to kill him if he spoke about the alleged abuse. The group’s lawyer, Henk Strydom, insisted there was no proof of such threats, or of any physical damage to the child.
In her ruling, magistrate Sharlotte Sithole agreed there was no evidence of the threats or that the accused had arranged the phone call to the investigating officer. She said the medical report from 2013 had not indicated signs of sexual abuse or penetration, and the accused were innocent until proved guilty. When the four were granted bail of R4 000 each, sighs of relief could be heard throughout the court gallery.
In a statement, the Full Gospel Church of God “noted with sadness and regret the allegations of abuse and satanic rituals brought by a child against some of his relatives and a pastor of the church on the East Rand”.
“The doctrine of the church strongly condemns any form of abuse, whether sexual or otherwise. The church further… is diametrically opposed to any form of satanic activity or ritual,” the statement read.