The South African Police Service’s Serial and Electronic Crimes Investigation (SECI) section of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit has arrested a 26-year-old youth pastor for possession of child pornography and failing to report knowledge of the commission of a sexual offence with children.
The Pastor, employed by a church in Rondebosch, Western Cape, was reported to the police by the parents of an alleged 14-year-old victim on 31 August 2017.
The Provincial office FCS, which together with the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation as well as United States of America’s Homeland Security jointly investigated this case before they arrested the suspect on 05 September 2017 at the church premises. During his arrest, the police seized several electronic items that include cell phones, a laptop, a tablet and memory cards, which will be sent for analysis.
The suspect allegedly hacked into his victims’ social media accounts and exchanged naked photos with some of the boys in his church under the pretext that he was a girl. When the boys, aged between 14 and 17, decide to stop, he would then threaten them with online exposure of their pictures. Most of the boys would then go to him, as the man of the cloth, to seek advice on how to handle the person bullying them online. He would then advise them to continue doing what that individual wanted which constitutes, on his part, failing to report knowledge of the commission of a sexual offence with children.
The suspect was also found in possession of electronic items, including cell phones, laptop, memory cards and a tablet which belonged to one of the parents. These too will be sent for analysis.
The suspect will appear at the Wynberg Magistrates Court today, 08 September 2017, for possession of child pornography and failing to report knowledge of the commission of a sexual offence with children. Additional charges will probably be added at a later stage as the investigation progresses as it is suspected that as many as 60 children may have fallen victim to this suspect.