Rape of 15 young boys by pastor divides Newcastle

CHURCH leaders, parents and community leaders will gather outside the Newcastle magistrate's court today to demand that the court denies bail to the 48-year-old pastor accused of sexually molesting 15 boys.

CHURCH leaders, parents and community leaders will gather outside the Newcastle magistrate's court today to demand that the court denies bail to the 48-year-old pastor accused of sexually molesting 15 boys.

The boys are between the ages of four and 14 and the police believe more victims could come forward.

According to statements by victims the alleged "rape" and sodomy occurred over the past six months.

Locals yesterday described the pastor, whose name is being withheld by Sowetan. as "flamboyant sweet-talker".

His arrest has split the Vezubuhle Fellowship congregation down the middle.

Eleven of the victims are pupils of the Qhawelesizwe Primary School.

The chairperson of the school governing body, Zanele Dlamini, said the children were already undergoing counseling.

"We took all affected children for counseling but teachers indicated that the boys are still suffering," she said

She said all stakeholders were doing everything they could to help.

Police spokesperson Shooz Magudulela said investigators were shocked.

"This is the first time we are dealing with a case of this nature," he said. "We appeal to the community to come forward if there are more victims out there."

Statements made to the police highlight how victims went back home complaining of pains and detailing the horror of what happened to them to parents and grandparents.

Members of the church in Vezubuhle are in a state of shock.

"We do not want him to get bail." said one parent. "How can a man of the cloth behave like this? He must rot in jail."

A mother of four of the boys said: "When you put your trust in a person preaching the Word of God it is hard (to believe this).

"My boys' lives are destroyed."

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