Church leader arrested for raping a teenage congregant

A church leader in Mpumalanga was remanded in custody on Thursday after he was arrested for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl‚ who is part of his congregation.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the 28-year-old man‚ who leads a church at Tshabalala near Hazyview‚ was arrested on Wednesday for the incident‚ which allegedly happened in August.

He appeared at the Mkhuhlu Magistrate’s Court and his case was postponed until next Thursday for a formal bail application.

“According to information at police disposal‚ the man reportedly communicated with the minor on social media and requested her to come to the church‚ so that he could pray for her.

“The girl then went to the church thinking she was going to be prayed for‚ but the man reportedly tried to rape her‚” Hlathi said.

Hlathi fruther added that a week later he reportedly called her to the church again. This time‚ he raped her.

“It is alleged that he intimidated the young girl not to tell anyone.”

Hlathi said police have called on the community‚ particularly the members of the congregation who may have fallen prey to the suspect‚ to go to the police station and report any incidents – believing that the teen might not be the man’s first victim.

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