Pastor held over ‘satanic sex abuse’
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Johannesburg - A suspected satanic ritual at a Boksburg church is at the centre of a case in which a 9-year-old boy was allegedly raped and molested by his grandparents, uncle and pastor.
The case was originally not pursued in 2013, when the boy was younger.
However, the SAPS’s Occult-Related Crime Unit was later brought in to investigate, culminating in the arrest of all four alleged abusers last month.
On Monday, the two grandparents, a 29-year-old uncle and a 54-year-old pastor appeared in the Germiston Magistrate’s Court for a formal bail application.
During proceedings, the investigating officer described the boy’s terrifying ordeal.
Lieutenant-Colonel Hendrik de Jager said interviews with the child had revealed that over a period – possibly of several years – the group had allegedly raped and molested the boy multiple times.
On one occasion, the grandparents and uncle had allegedly taken the child to their place of worship, the Full Gospel Church of God in Witfield, Boksburg, where the pastor was based.
The four adults donned masks and red robes and constructed a circle of red stones, surrounding the child while they prayed in strange tongues.
They gave the child something to drink, while the pastor and uncle took off their clothes and began having sex.
The child was asked to touch the private parts of each of the adults while they, in turn, fondled him.
De Jager said the child was then told to take off his clothes.
The uncle then stood behind him and penetrated him – though it was not clear if this was done with an object.
The lieutenant-colonel told the court that the granting of bail to the four accused would be detrimental to the child’s mental health, as there had been numerous threats against the boy and his parents.
De Jager said a man who identified himself as a relative had phoned him to get off the case and threatened to strangle the child and his mother.
The parents had also reported that the uncle’s wife had driven past their house screaming: “We’re going to get you!”
He said the reason the boy was particularly frightened of the grandfather was that the elderly man had pointed a gun at the child and threatened to kill him if he spoke about the abuse.
De Jager said that, based on information from the child, police were able to find the grandfather’s firearm – further proof of the alleged threat.
Defence lawyer Henk Strydom insisted that his four clients would deny all the allegations, and that they wished to prove their innocence in court.
He insisted that the State’s case was weak, as the medical reports taken in 2013 had indicated there were no signs of abuse.
Strydom said police had found no evidence of any satanic rituals going on at the church. No red robes or masks were ever found.
De Jager said the lapse in time between the laying of the charge and now meant much of the evidence could have been hidden.
Strydom argued that none of his clients had ever tried to hurt the child or his family even though his clients knew the case was opened two years ago, meaning they were no threat.
He said that to preserve the child’s mental state, the parents shouldn’t tell the child if the accused were granted bail.
“Do we really trust this child?” Strydom asked. “That is for the trial court to determine.”
A top representative of the church attended the court case to monitor the proceedings, but declined to comment.
On Tuesday morning, prosecutor Madelein Laws was to provide closing argument, with judgment on the bail application expected shortly thereafter.