A Lutheran Church pastor who sodomised a 15-year-old boy after being offered accommodation at the boy’s house in Glen View was on Tuesday jailed an effective 16 years.
Chabata Muchineripi had denied the charge when his trial opened before Harare regional magistrate Mr Peter Kumbawa.
However, after a fully contested trial, the court convicted Muchineripi (33) on aggravated indecent assault charges on the grounds of a prima facie case being proved against him.
Mr Kumbawa sentenced Muchineripi to 18 years behind bars, but suspended two years on condition that he does not commit any offence of a sexual nature in the next five years.
In passing sentence, Mr Kumbawa noted that offences of this nature were tantamount to rape and perpetrators of such crimes should be given severe punishment.
“An offence like this is treated like rape therefore a deterrent sentence is called for,” he said.
Mr Kumbawa said Muchineripi’s actions created mistrust and destabilisation in church communities.
“Offences like this are prevalent in church communities and they are not only anti-social and degrading but scandalous to the church,” he said.
Prosecutor Mr Cuthbert Mukandire proved that on March 6 this year, Muchineripi — a pastor in Tafara — went to Glen View where he was scheduled to attend a church service the following morning and asked for accommodation from the boy’s guardians.
On being offered accommodation, Muchineripi requested that the boy sleep in the same room with him in case he required assistance during the night in the form of water.
In the course of the night, Muchineripi woke up and grabbed the boy by the neck before sodomising him and making him fondle his genitals.
The boy fled to the sitting room after he was freed and related the abuse to his cousin the following day.
A report was made to the police leading to Muchineripi’s arrest as he conducted a church service. (Herald)