NHLANGANO - A pastor has been arrested and charged for having allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl inside his church.
Pastor Timothy Fana Mngometulu (68) of Hlengela Evangelical Church around Hluthi is charged with rape which he is said to have committed on December 18, 2010.
The name of the sexually abused girl, who is in Grade VI, will not be revealed as she is a survivor of sexual abuse.
Mngometulu who was escorted by plain clothed police officers from the Hluthi Police Station appeared yesterday before Magistrate Musa Nxumalo.
He pleaded guilty and elected to conduct his own defence.
The accused first recorded a confession before his remand appearance and was wearing a khakhi trouser, blue shirt, black leather jacket and black shoes. His hair and beard are greyish.
According to sources the sexually abused girl is said to have confided in one of her guardians that the pastor had forceful sexual intercourse with her inside the Hlengela Evangelical Church.
The rape ordeal, it was reliably gathered, lasted for about 15 minutes and it is alleged the holy man told the 13-year-old girl she was his ‘wife’ and they must engage in sexual intercourse.
Though it could not be ascertained how the pastor managed to lure the child into the church, it was reliably gathered that his long time wife was away performing church duties around the community and there was no church service in session.
The incident happened between 4pm and 4:30pm.
The girl was allegedly molested and made to lie on the floor before being raped.
He is said to have then proceeded to his homestead with the traumatised girl who stayed until 9pm without reporting to her homestead.
It is alleged between 9pm and 9:30pm the pastor in the company of his children, wife and the sexually molested Grade VI pupil eventually left for a night vigil and returned the following day.
On December 20, 2010, the pastor is said to have left for Manzini but upon his return, two days later, he was shocked to discover a letter detailing the rape ordeal, written by the traumatised girl, was delivered to his family.
His wife (umkhokheli) is said to have reacted with shock and anger.
"The girl insists the rape unfolded inside church and that they were alone. This is embarrassing to the say the least and we still wonder what might have crossed the pastor’s mind into committing such an offence. However, the pastor refutes this and alleges he raped the child in his bedroom," revealed a source very close to the matter.
An elder sister to the sexually abused girl is said to have later phoned the pastor informing him the family was proceeding to report the matter to the police.
Magistrate Nxumalo remanded the pastor back to custody until January 18, 2011 pending committal of the matter at the High Court. The accused was also advised to move a bail application at the High Court.