A 39-year-old pastor will spend the rest of his life in prison after he has been found guilty of raping and impregnating a 14-year-old orphan placed under his care.
Pastor sentenced to life imprisonment for raping & impregnating 14-year-old orphan
A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s Rivers State has sentenced Justice Aniele, a pastor with the Assemblies of God church.
Reports say he committed the crime on December 11, 2017, at Amaji community in Omuma Local Government Area.
Four years after the incident, the court presided over by Justice Augusta Kingsley-Chuku, found the accused guilty on Thursday, November 11.
Lindaikejisblog.com reported the judge as saying the convict took advantage of the minor under his care and had unlawful sexual intercourse with her which resulted in pregnancy and the birth of a baby boy that later died.
The man of God attempted to abort the pregnancy more than once and then threatened to kill the victim if she blew his cover.
His offence, the court said is punishable under section 32, sub 2 of Rivers State Child Rights Law 2009.
The State Prosecution Counsel, Lilian Franklin expressed excitement at the court’s ruling.
She said: “We got judgement today for unlawful sexual intercourse with a child with a maximum sentence which life in imprisonment.
“Police concluded investigation and the case file was sent to the Ministry of Justice and immediately we called witnesses to testify in court which they did, the victim has also testified
“The IPO was called to testify and he called the doctor that attempted abortion for the defendant. Although he refused, he testified which strengthened our case that the defendant brought the victim for a failed abortion and she had a baby instead although the baby died
“Today, we are glad that we got justice for the victim and the state and it should serve as a deterrent for others that have children in their care and would want to molest or abuse them for other things than allowing them to be children that they are.”
International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) said the judgement will serve as a deterrent to other people who are in the habit of abusing vulnerable people in society.
Chisom Anyalebechi, the lawyer who represented FIDA said: “We are so happy. Immensely grateful for getting this judgement, it will act as a deterrent to others.”
Addressing concerns that the sentence meted out to the pastor appears unproportionate with the crime, Chisom Anyalebechi said: “We charged this matter under Child Rights Law and not criminal Code, hence the judgement for life imprisonment.
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