Friday, October 29, 2010

Salvation Army
Zimbabwe: Church Leader Jailed for Rape
7 October 2010

Harare — A Salvation Army Church captain has been jailed 13 years effective for raping an Upper Six pupil who was left in his custody by her parents.

Captain Anderson Chipiro (40), who was employed as an administrator at the church-run school outside Bulawayo, pleaded not guilty to the charges when his trial opened before Harare regional magistrate Mr Daniel Shonhiwa.

The court, however, convicted him on the basis of overwhelming evidence. Mr Shonhiwa sentenced Chipiro to 17 years in jail but suspended four years on condition of good behaviour. In passing sentence Mr Shonhiwa said he took into account Chipiro's personal circumstances.

"In aggravation the State submitted that accused breached the trust bestowed on him by the complainant's father." The victim, he added, regarded Chipiro as a guardian. "May I also add that accused also breached the trust, which, the church . . . bestowed on him," he said.

Mr Shonhiwa said what was disturbing was the fact that cases of sexual abuse involving religious leaders were on the increase.

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"Some are of the view that morality is the key to gospel in all religious circles and it becomes disheartening for pastors to be on the fore-front in cases of sexual abuse." He said Chipiro sadly forgot to properly look after flock as a school administrator.

Prosecutor Mrs Joyce Fusire proved that on November 8 2008 at about 12 midnight the complainant was sleeping in a bedroom at Chipiro's house.

He entered the bedroom where the girl was sleeping and sneaked into her blankets. Chipiro who was already wearing a condom clamped the girl's mouth before raping her. The matter came to light after the girl's father quizzed her about her multiple illnesses and depression.

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