SDA pas­tor to do com­mu­nity ser­vice for in­de­cent as­sault

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda

A SEV­ENTH Day Ad­ven­tist (SDA) pas­tor in Bu­l­awayo who in­de­cently as­saulted a mar­ried fe­male con­gre­gant who is also a prom­i­nent city lawyer was yes­ter­day or­dered to un­dergo 315 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice.

Brighton Nde­bele (31) of Em­gan­wini sub­urb was on Wed­nes­day con­victed of in­de­cent as­sault by Bu­l­awayo mag­is­trate Ms Ade­laide Mbeure.

He was sen­tenced to 12 months in jail of which three months were sus­pended for three years on con­di­tion that he does not within that pe­riod com­mit a sim­i­lar crime.

The re­main­ing nine months were fur­ther sus­pended on con­di­tion that Nde­bele per­forms 315 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice at Hill­side Po­lice Sta­tion.

In pass­ing sen­tence, Ms Mbeure said Nde­bele’s con­duct was de­plorable and shame­ful con­sid­er­ing that he was a man of God who was sup­posed to shep­herd the sheep in­stead of prey­ing on them.

Pros­e­cut­ing, Ms Caro­line Matanga said on April 20 this year at around mid­day, Nde­bele went to the com­plainant’s work­place to dis­cuss church busi­ness since the com­plainant is also the head of so­cial com­mit­tees in the church.

The court heard that af­ter the dis­cus­sion and when he was about to leave of­fice, the pas­tor so­licited for a hug from the com­plainant and she de­clined.

He then forcibly pulled the woman by the hand and squeezed her to his chest, be­fore hold­ing her waist and ca­ress­ing her back and but­tocks.

The com­plainant nar­rated her or­deal to a fel­low con­gre­gant be­fore she re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice, lead­ing to Nde­bele’s ar­rest.

Nde­bele, who was rep­re­sented by his lawyer, Mr Job Sibanda of Job Sibanda and As­so­ciates, had pleaded not guilty to charges of in­de­cent as­sault.

In his de­fence, Nde­bele told the court that the hug came nat­u­rally and con­sen­su­ally be­fore they parted on the day in ques­tion.

In her tes­ti­mony, the com­plainant said she was shocked by her pas­tor’s ac­tions.

“I was paral­ysed, time came to a stand­still, and I only thought he was go­ing to drag me to the so­fas in the of­fice. He was ag­gres­sive. I told him I was go­ing to re­port him to the church lead­er­ship and he said they will not be­lieve me. When I men­tioned the con­fer­ence pres­i­dent, Pas­tor JB Sibanda, he said ‘he will do noth­ing’,” she told the court.

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