By Hassan Isilow
JOHANNESBURG (AA) - A court in South Africa sentenced a Congolese pastor to 37 years for multiple rape counts and sexual assault involving five members of his congregation, media reports said Tuesday.
Pastor Bafomba Willy Emeka 48, of the God Is Love Ministry, was found guilty by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria last week and sentenced Monday. according to the IOL news website.
He was found guilty of 19 counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, illegally living in the country and possessing a fake permanent residence permit, it said.
The pastor was found guilty of raping five women in his congregation between 2015 and 2018. He was arrested in 2018.
Several Pentecostal pastors in South Africa are facing legal battles for various offenses including rape and fraud, including 62-year-old Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso, who is accused of raping young girls at his church for years. His trial has been televised since 2018. He denies the allegation.
Another well-known Christian preacher in hot water is Malawian Shepherd Bushiri, who fled South Africa last year after being charged with fraud and money laundering involving 102 million South Africa rand ($6.6 million). He fled shortly after posting bail.