Nigerian pastor, Tim Omotoso of the Jesus Dominion International Church in Durban, is being sought for by the police for allegedly abusing young girls in his house.
According to local media reports, the 58-year-old pastor allegedly handpicked the girls and instructed them to live in his house where they were forced to have unprotected sex with him.
Omotoso is accused of molesting more than 30 young girls with the pretext of rescuing them from drugs. Some of the girls had reportedly dropped out of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, while others sang for the pastor’s group, known as Simply Christolite.
A South African TV show, Special Assignment has shown the girls speak about how Omotoso lured them to his rented home in Umhlanga Rocks in Durban, and allegedly made to report to his bedroom where they were compelled to massage his private parts, suck and have sex with him without their consent. Watch the video below
Police spokesperson, Lt-Col Robert Netshiunda, said Omotoso had gone underground and all three cellphones linked to him had been deactivated. “We are investigating the matter and we will only lay charges after getting him,’ Netshiunda said.
In the meantime, congregants from the Port Elizabeth branch of the ministry had a meeting with the Durban mayor, Athol Trollip in relation to the Pastor’s suspected sex crimes.
According to Trollip’s spokesman, Sibongile Dimbaza, the meeting had been arranged by the municipality after widespread coverage of the allegations made against Omotoso.
“The Port Elizabeth branch of the church has been affected by the allegations and thus the leadership needed to understand what the issues were as this affects the metro in one form or the other.
“The meeting was requested by [Bhanga] as a community leader so that the city can understand the safety implications around what’s taking place at that church.
“The safety and security of our residents is of utmost importance to the municipality,” Dimbaza said.
In the meeting at the Port Elizabeth City Hall, were no less than 14 church members from Omotoso’s Port Elizabeth branch. Also in attendance were Trollip, municipal human settlements political head, Nqaba Bhanga, Port Elizabeth Anglican Bishop, Bethlehem Nopece and Ebenezer International Christian Church Pastor, Neville Goldman.
Anglican Bishop Nopece said the meeting had been called following concerns by the mayor and his team, who feared the sex allegations would create instability in the metro.
But, the delegation from Omotoso’s church spoke highly of him and how he had delivered them from all sorts of things, including drugs.
The church delegation had also claimed that a group of pastors from Omotoso’s church were behind the scandal and had implicated him in the alleged sex crimes.
One of the women claiming to be molested by Omotoso is from Port Elizabeth. The unnamed 25-year-old woman alleges she was molested at the age of 14 during an incident in Durban.
Meanwhile, Bishop Vusi Dube of the National Interfaith Council of South Africa has said he had always had reservations about the way Omotoso conducted himself. In his words:
“I challenge all honest Nigerian pastors to condemn this. If they don’t, there will be assumptions that they have no problem with this behaviour.”