Pastor denies sex assault allegations

Sackey argues jealousy is behind flurry of charges levelled against him, as he now fights to secure bail

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A prominent Eastern Cape pastor was on Friday accused in court of being a sexual predator who abused six girls and women, aged between 14 and 24, by luring them under the pretext that they would join him in a prayer service.
Kingdom Palace Chapel International Church founding pastor and senior leader, Samuel Sackey, pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of sexual assault when he appeared in the East London magistrate’s court on Friday.
Sackey, who is seeking bail, was arrested on April 18. He is being held in the hospital section of the West Bank Prison, having suffered a heart attack on Good Friday – the day after his arrest.
Investigating officer Lieutenant-Colonel Mzwamadoda Ncapayi, the unit commander of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences, told the court that the 39-year-old pastor’s alleged modus operandi was to force himself on his alleged victims after prayer sessions, and rub his penis against their private parts.
“He would call them into his office [inside the church] and pretend to want to pray for them,” he said.
The church is situated in the East London CBD in Cambridge Street.
Ncapayi said the allegations first surfaced in February when a Hudson Park High School social worker informed him that a 14-year-old pupil at the school had confided she had been molested by her pastor.
Ncapayi testified the teenager subsequently led the FSC unit to other alleged victims. Some of them were the children of other leading figures in the church who had been ordained by Sackey.
“The victims kept quiet because they were afraid that their parents would not believe them because of the pastor’s position in the church,” Ncapayi said.
He told the court that Sackey did not deserve bail because of the serious charges he faced and that he was likely to evade trial.
On the day of his arrest, Sackey allegedly hid in his en-suite bathroom and locked his bedroom door. Ncapayi said the police had to force entry into the room in order to apprehend the pastor.
“We learnt that Sackey called some of the victims, persuading them not to cooperate with the police, and he was apologising. This can be seen as an admission of guilt,” he said.
However, Sackey depicted himself to the court as a good Samaritan who had devoted all his “strength and life to the advancement of the poor in South Africa”.
His lawyer, Elias Makhanya, told the court that the charges against his client might well have been trumped up by “jealous” church members possibly plotting their pastor’s downfall.Sackey told the court, through Makhanya, that he should be released on bail as he was a married father of four.Makhanya insinuated that some pastors at the church had plotted against his client because they wanted to see the back of him.“My client was informed by the pastors at the church in December that he was being investigated, and they told him to take leave. We are denying that any of this happened.“Is there a possibility that all of this could have been orchestrated by these pastors who were ordained by my client? Can jealously be ruled out?”Reading out Sackey’s affidavit, Makhanya told magistrate Lionel Mitten that his client, a teacher by profession, had taught in four Eastern Cape schools before trading the classroom for the pulpit, where he started many outreach programmes, helping poor communities.Sackey had also launched a bible school, called the Elohim Theological University.Makhanya said Sackey had no knowledge of the allegations against him, all of which had been levelled by members of his congregation.The matter was postponed to Monday...

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