Malawi Pentecostal pastor jailed 9 years for defilement

Mzuzu Chief Resident Magistrate Court has sentenced a pastor for Christian Pentecostal Church in the city to nine years Imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL) for defiling his eight-year-old daughter in-law.

The court heard that Pastor Steven Maseko defiled the girl on the night of 16 to 17th June 2012 at his home in Ching’ambo location while his wife was away in Nkhata Bay for church prayers.

Pastor Maseko took advantage of the absence of his wife to enter the bedroom where the victim alongside three other children were sleeping.

He transferred his biological daughters to his bedroom before coming back to the room to sexually assault the girl who has been staying with the family since the age of two.

The court further heard that Pastor Maseko wrapped the victim’s mouth to prevent her from shouting. He then undressed and defiled the girl, contrary to section 138 of the Penal Code.

He warned the girl that he would kill her if she disclosed the matter.

However, the following morning, the child revealed the incident to neighbours who happened to be followers of Pastor Maseko’s founded church. The church members failed to take immediate action for fear of damaging the reputation of their pastor.

When the wife returned home, the victim narrated the story to her. She then summoned the husband before the church elders and relatives. Pastor Maseko denied the case and uttered fresh threats to kill the child.

Out of fear, the victim ran away from home. However, Pastor Maseko’s wife made efforts to trace the girl for examination and the medical results confirmed defilement took place.

Throughout the court proceedings, he pleaded not guilty prompting the State to parade four witnesses who testified against him, and was consequently convicted.

In mitigation, Pastor Maseko asked for leniency saying giving him custodial sentence would end his church.

However, Police Prosecutor Sergeant Andrew Singini pleaded with the court for a stiffer penalty arguing that the offence was a felony which attracts a maximum penalty of death or life imprisonment with hard labour.

He further argued that as a father, Pastor Maseko had a duty to protect the child, and as a pastor, he was supposed to be exemplary.

Passing judgement, Chief Resident Magistrate Joseph Chigona concurred with the State saying it is the duty of the court to protect children from people like Pastor Maseko by imposing stiffer sentences to deter others from committing such offences.

He then sentenced him to nine years IHL.

Pastor Maseko hails from Ntchalowa Village in the area of Traditional Authority Kaluluma in Kasungu District.

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