A Nigerian pastor is facing jail for abusing abuse children and adults in his congregation for over 20 years, with help from his wife.
Michael Oluronbi, the suspect, who claims to be a prophet was found guilty of the offences against six women and a man – five of whom attended his church. Oluronbi in a confession which was videoed last year by a victim’s family member claimed the devil made him commit his terrible crimes and described himself as ‘an animal’.
The self styled prophet would ask his victim to take part in ‘spiritual bathing’, which he claimed would ‘cleanse’ them of evil spirits. Oluronbi was convicted on Friday after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, and his offending can now be reported after restrictions were lifted.
It was found during his trial, that some of his young female victims became pregnant multiple times but were taken to abortion clinics by qualified pharmacist Oluronbi, to cover up what was happening. In a confession videoed last year, the pastor is heard saying: ‘Everything was just my fault, and as I said before, I wasn’t meant to be human. I wasn’t meant to live under the roof of any human being and I said that I was an animal.’
However, during his trial, even though there’s is a a confession video, Oluronbi denied any wrongdoing, which forced his victims to give evidence against him during nine weeks of legal proceedings.
He was convicted of 15 counts of rape, seven counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault. His wife Juliana(60) was convicted of three counts of aiding and abetting rape after helping arrange some of the terminations. His prosecution started when one of his victims, now an adult, came forward.
Jurors heard that Oluronbi was linked to a Christian church in Edgbaston, Birmingham – the Cherubim and Seraphim Church – whose roots were in Nigeria.
Phil Bradley QC, prosecuting, told the jury: ‘The Crown’s case is that Mr Oluronbi used what he called ‘spiritual work’ as a subterfuge for that sexual abuse. The main tactic he employed was to claim that God had instructed him to administer ‘holy baths’ to some of his congregation in order to ‘cleanse’ them and protect them from evil influences. That activity began when his victims were children. There can be no doubt that its real purpose was to serve his sexual gratification.’ He added that for some of the female victims the offending ‘progressed to repeated rapes, on many occasions leading to unwanted pregnancies and terminations’.
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‘You will learn that this man, who was revered and feared by his victims, kept a vice-like grip on many of them and continued to abuse them well into adulthood,’ Mr Bradley said. Oluronbi’s victims described him as ‘controlling’ and ‘almost like a king’.
Detective Superintendent Nick Walton, of West Midlands Police, said after the verdict that Oluronbi convinced the children, through conversations with parents, to take the ‘spiritual baths’ ‘He convinced a number of children… that these can benefit them either religiously, from a health perspective, or educationally,’ he said. ‘They’d be taken upstairs to the bathroom, stripped naked, sometimes wearing a red girdle – like a sash – and he would wash them down. On occasion he would sexually assault them, but also take them to an adjacent bedroom and subject them to sexual assaults and rape.’ The offending happened over a period of 20 years, at various locations, going back to the 1980s.
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