SDA pastor to do community service for indecent assault
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.