A 22-year-old South African lady, Cheryl Zondi, has given a Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday, October 15, 2018, how a Nigerian Pastor, Timothy Omotosho, raped and sexually assaulted her several times using his position as her spiritual leader to his advantage.
Pastor Omotosho, the General Overseer of Jesus Dominion International (JDI), is facing a string of charges including rape and the alleged trafficking of more than 30 girls and women from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, where he allegedly sexually exploited them.
Zondi who narrated her ordeal in tears claimed that Pastor Omotosho told her that God was on his side throughout the period he raped her and that what he was doing to her was heavenly ordained.
Zondi said she waived her right to be unnamed in the sex trial involving Omotosho and two of his alleged accomplices, Lusanda Solani, 36 of Durban, and ZukiswaSitho, 28, of Port Elizabeth, who helped him in recruiting girls all over the country and monitored their movements in the houses where they were being kept.
Zondi was under cross-examination and questioned extensively by defence attorney Peter Daubermann, on her aspirations to become a professional singer while being a member of the JDI church, with the attorney asking her about the first encounter with the pastor at his mission house in Durban.
She testified that she was just 14-years-old when Pastor Omotosho summoned her to his bedroom. She said that he told her to lock the door as she entered the bedroom.
“You were in a room alone with a man. You say you were scared. What did you think was going to happen? Didn’t you wonder why the door was locked?” asked Daubermann.
To which Zondi replied that it was scary but it was also a privilege because Pastor Omotosho was thought to be a man of God. She said she wanted him to be her musical mentor and thought that he would train her.
The teenager said she knelt beside Omotoso who was in his bed under the sheets. He then signaled for her to sit next to him on the bed, she narrated.
Going further, she said that Omotosho hugged her tightly, pulled on her bra strap and pushed her on the bed, adding that she felt his erect manhood between her thighs while still fully clothed.
She told the court that she did not resist and was aware that she was being sexually attacked and knew that such behaviour was wrong. She said she thought she might have been raped.
“Why did you not scream, mam? You knew there were other people in the house, they would hear you?”
Zondi replied that she was scared and the girls in the house were loyal to the man of God.
She further explained why she did not dare to object to his advances, saying she was shocked and confused and just said to him, “I just have to get used to the way things work in this house.”
Zondi said that even if she screamed for help, nobody would have intervened because the pastor told her that God was on his side in committing the sexual assault.
“But this is against God’s teaching. How can a man of God be capable of doing these things you describe? You said you knew what he was doing was wrong,” asked Daubermann.
She explained again that she was too scared to oppose Pastor Omotosho because she thought anyone who opposed him would die, so she allowed him to continue, especially considering her young and impressionable age.
At night, Zondi said she was again summoned to his room where she thought she would definitely get raped.
“I thought he would rape me and I should allow him to do what he wanted to do. I did not want to face the wrath of God,” she told the court.