Pastor who raped congregants as ‘blessing’ gets 37 years behind bars

A trusted pastor from Bronkhorstspruit in South Africa was sentenced to 37 years in prison for the rape of five congregants who he claimed he was “blessing”.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said 48-year-old William Emeka’s modus operandi was to tell victims they had a problem that he could resolve by praying for them and “blessing” them.

Instead, he was found guilty of 19 counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault after the women eventually told another pastor at the God is Love Ministries.

The Congolese national was also found to have been in the country with a falsified residence permit.

“Emeka told one of his victims who was also assisting with babysitting Emeka’s children that by sleeping with him he was helping her take things that were inside her out, and until those things came out, she would not be able to conceive,” said North Gauteng NPA spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana.

By 2018, the women stopped attending church, while he also made the bizarre claim to the congregation that he had made a woman’s pregnancy “disappear”.

He was finally arrested in 2018 after his victims reported him to another pastor, who encouraged them to go to the police.

Comment was not immediately available from four numbers listed on the church’s Facebook page, including its prayer line. Its page explains that to be a member of the church one must only have heterosexual relationships, within the confines of legal matrimony.

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The church’s slogan was “By fire by force we overcame the devil in Jesus name”, and as the Prophet of God Sonar General Emeka claimed to have restored a boy’s ability to walk.

In a video, he can be seen standing in front of a young woman and telling her he can tell she has problems at school.

His delivery included a purring sound as he strutted around the church preaching.

The NPA said he denied committing the offences.

Mahanjana said one of his victims became pregnant as a result of the rape and could not determine whether the father of her child was the pastor or her husband.

“When the woman testified in court, the DNA results to determine who the father was were not yet out,” said Mahanjana.

Prosecutor Dorah Ngobeni implored the court to act decisively against the abuse of women and children, particularly Emeka, who used his position of trust in the congregation to prey on people.

The court ordered that his name be added to the National Register for Sex Offenders and he was declared unfit to own a firearm.


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