A 31 year old Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) pastor based in Bulawayo was given a jail term for forcing a married female church member to hug him after a meeting.
Pastor Brighton Ndebele (31) of Emganwini Bulawayo was convicted of indecent assault by a Bulawayo magistrate after a church member who is also a prominent city lawyer launched criminal charges against Mr Ndebele following their meeting at the former’s place of work.
According to state prosecutors 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 was given a 12 months jail term of which 3 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 he does 315 hours of community service at a local police station.