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THE PASTOR allegedly raped a young woman next to the pulpit and, in a recorded phone call, he pleads for forgiveness.

“If people find out about this, no one will want to come to church,” he begs.

“THE CHURCH WILL BE REGARDED AS DIRTY!”

The senior pastor is from one of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s Enlightened Christian Gathering branches in the Western Cape.

Media has decided not to reveal the 24-year-old woman’s identity, although she agreed to be named.

She said she was raped inside the church next to the pulpit on 28 December.

In a series of recorded apologies, he begs for forgiveness!

“Please forgive me. I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to do. I’ve never done this before, especially in church. I can never have peace. I wish you can forgive me.

“You liked being in church and I took advantage of you. I’m sorry. If there’s anything I can do please tell me.”

She said he was more worried about the church’s reputation than about her. She joined the church last June and loved the church because it had many young people.

“I had so much respect for the pastor as I saw him as my spiritual father. I became the leader of a youth prayer session. I was happy being in the church.”

She went home to Port Elizabeth for Christmas, and on her way back the night before the rape she received messages in her Facebook account from him.

“I was shocked and happy at the same time. He invited me for a prayer the following night.”

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When she got to church she was the only one there.

“He told me to relax and played gospel music. We sat next to the pulpit,” she said.

“He came closer to me while asking about my personal life. I asked him to take me home. I was becoming uncomfortable.”

She said when they got to the door he tried to kiss her.

“He told me he loved me. He said I was in love with him, too.”

He dragged her to the couch next to the pulpit,” she said.

“He overpowered and raped me. I’m shattered, angry and broken. So are my family. I thought church was a safe place, but that’s where I got violated.”

In an open letter to the church, the pastor claims there was mutual agreement.

“I tried to take full responsibility by apologising when she started feeling bad and guilty. I sinned against God, the church, my wife and even myself and her.

“Out of my own Godly conscience, I hereby step aside from any church responsibilities as an acting pastor.”

He had talked to leaders at the Tshwane headquarters.

“I wish you all the best and will keep on praying for you, whether in jail or not.”

Sergeant Christopher Spies said: “The family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit arrested a 33-year-old suspect on Friday on a rape charge.”

The suspect was in custody and due to appear in the magistrates court today.

A number of calls and messages to church spokesman Ephraim Nyondo went unanswered since Saturday.

Source : Daily Sun

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