A High Court judge has sentenced a 46-year-old pastor to 40 years in jail after he was found guilty of having sex with a minor two years ago.
“The victim has been grossly violated in every conceivable way. She had to face criticisms and publicity to take the stand and recount the event which led to you being before me,” Justice Sandil Kissoon said as she handed down the jail sentence on Pastor Andrew Hannibale, the founder of the Faith Deliverance Ministries on the West Bank Berbice.
“This act cannot be treated lightly. You are a pastor of a large congregation. A community leader. Persons sought refuge to be nurtured and cared for. This child was without immediate family and you grossly violated her,” she added.
Earlier, the accused had told the court he was “sorry…to find myself in such a situation, and experiencing such a decision as a community leader and as a pastor for over 29 years.
“I never thought this day would come. I am very sorry. It is very painful. I know the community has lost its confidence in the church because of the expectations of me. I will abide by the jury decision. All I ask for is leniency, so I can serve the time and resume back to society as a brand new man.
“I want to say to the victim and family, how sorry I am. I know you are hurt. I pray you forgive me, as you go on with your life. Madame Prosecutor, I have no grievance against you. You have done your job. Whatever is the decision of this court I will abide,” he added.
The mixed jury had found the pastor guilty of committing the offence during the period January 29 and January 30, 2016.
Hannibale was convicted of rape after the court heard that a sibling of the virtual complainant awoke and had discovered that the 15-year-old was not in her bed. As a result their guardian was informed and a search was carried out. The teen was seen in an outhouse. She later confessed with being with the pastor.
Meanwhile, a 57-year-old former police officer, has been remanded to prison for the alleged rape of a three-year child.
The court heard that the incident occurred on March 14, 2016, when he engaged in sexual penetration of a three-year-old.
The accused, Deon Aaron was not required to plead to the charge, when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.
He will return to court on February 22.