Woman Alleges Sexual Assault by Priest Amid Claims of Discrimination
A 41-year-old woman, whose identity is protected, has come forward with disturbing allegations of sxual assault by her pastor at St. Phillips Anglican Church in Sunnyside, Tshwane. The woman, who identifies as a lesbian, claims that the assault occurred in 2022 when she was a caretaker at the church.
According to her account, the pastor, who disapproved of her sexual orientation, purportedly believed she was on an “ungodly” path and sought to correct her ways. The woman alleges that the pastor raped her, justifying his actions by expressing a desire for her to “feel how a man tastes like.”
The woman, who initially sought an administrative job at the church where she grew up, asserts that the pastor used his position of authority to coerce her into non-consensual sexual encounters. She reported the matter to the Anglican Diocese of Pretoria, leading to a disciplinary hearing where the pastor was found guilty. However, his suspension for six months was cut short, and he resumed pastoral duties before completing the term.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the church’s handling of the case, the woman relocated to a liquor store in Rustenburg, hoping for peace. To her dismay, the pastor allegedly continued to harass her, boasting about their supposed encounters. Despite discovering that the pastor had been moved to Rustenburg, she refrained from filing a rape case at the time, trusting the church to address the matter.
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In November 2019, the Anglican Diocese of Pretoria confirmed that the pastor was charged with s.e.xual immorality in violation of Canon 37. Although he pleaded guilty and served a six-month suspension, the woman contends that the abuse of power and subsequent resumption of pastoral duties were insufficient consequences.
The woman is now considering filing a criminal case against the pastor. Jeanette Sera, a social worker at Powa, advised her to undergo counseling to navigate potential emotional challenges in court. Legal experts emphasize that, given the nature of the allegations, the victim should open a case with the police to ensure a proper investigation.
The Anglican Diocese of Pretoria acknowledged the pastor’s guilt in unethical s.e.xual conduct but clarified that the woman has the right to pursue criminal charges beyond the church’s jurisdiction.
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