‘Help me, I am a sex addict’ – Cape Town’s Porn Pastor

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Cape Town’s former Common Ground Church youth leader nicknamed the ‘Porn Pastor’ was sodomised by the family gardener from about the age of three or four and needs treatment for sexual addiction, not jail time, reports Mike Behr for the Weekend Argus.

This is the essence of a plea bargain being requested of the state by the 28-year-old man, which proposes that he follow the advice of his sex addiction therapist and enter “a structured, long-term therapeutic programme to deal with his sexuality”.

“I suffer from an illness,” he says in an affidavit. “The addiction has rendered me powerless to deal with it without psychological counselling and assistance.”

He states that although he is not gay or a paedophile, he has “this compulsion to look at images of boys” because he was abused as a child.

He was arrested by sex crime cops in September 2017 at Rondebosch Common Ground Church for the alleged extortion of pornographic images from over 60 boys between the ages of 14 and 17 using the WhatsApp and Instagram alias of a teenage girl.

Many of the boys were Common Ground congregants and about 10 unwittingly approached the man as their youth pastor for advice on how to handle the extortion, not realising he was posing as the teenage girl extortionist who was threatening to expose them publicly if they did not continue sharing pornographic photos of themselves.

Other victims included pupils from schools in the Rondebosch area where the man was a school sports photographer. Photos of teenage surfers also featured in his online portfolio which was closed down.

Following his September 2017 court appearance he was released on R1,000 bail, but was rearrested in February 2018 after again trying to extort a pornographic image of a young boy.

The man claimed that this contravention of his bail conditions was “proof” of his addiction which is “akin to that of an alcoholic or a drug user”.

Although the state has not presented him with a formal charge sheet in the 11 months that he has been jailed at Goodwood Prison, the man has admitted to a number of charges under the Sexual Offences Act and the Film and Publications Act.

He is proposing that in exchange for a guilty plea, there is no trial and imprisonment and he enters a three-month sex offender treatment programme at Ixande Clinical Treatment Centre in Kenilworth. This would be followed by outpatient treatment for a further 33 months.

He further proposes that he not be allowed use a cell phone with internet capabilities during the period of his treatment and until the rehab centre filed a report “confirming my ability to function as a responsible recovering addict”.

The R200,000 programme would be paid for with a loan from his American uncle.

The man’s attorney, Ed Morgan, told the court that the rigorous programme was “no Sunday school picnic”. He has also suggested that a trial would not in the best interests of the teenage victims.

“If a boy of 15 or 16 is sending naked pictures of himself with a covering story of telling the female (the man’s alias) exactly what he intends to do with his anatomy and her then the likelihood is that this is not the first time he has done it and so cross-examining that child in court about that will be traumatic.”

The man has claimed mitigating circumstances including not keeping the images he extorted, but deleting them. In addition he “never had any contact with the boys in person and I never approached the boys, whom I may have known, with any sexual intention”.

The plea is motivated by a report from his sex therapist Corrie Davidson, who traces the man’s addiction back to the age of three or four when he was fondled and sodomised a number of times by the family’s young gardener.

“He told his mother about these incidents, more than once, but to his knowledge nothing ever happened about it. He never spoke to his father about it. He was left unsure if his mother believed him or if it was just too difficult for her to deal with.”

According to the report, around the same time, the 14-year-old son of a family friend exposed his genitals to the man. He claims he was also abused by the 14-year-old daughter of another family friend, who “forced him to pleasure her”.

By the time he was 16, the man was hooked on hardcore porn, she reports. At 17,“he became a Christian and life changed for him. He began to find a place socially, gained a lot of confidence, began playing and enjoying sport more seriously, became a prefect at school, and became very involved at his church.

“His life revolved around his faith, his emerging leadership and the Christian community. He thought that the struggle with pornography was age-appropriate Despite this turn-around point in his life, certain sexual habits and neurological pathways were well entrenched.”

A University of Cape Town masters degree graduate in environmental and geographical science, the man was by then a paid employee of Rondebosch Common Ground Church as a youth pastor in Constantiaberg.

Then he “discovered child porn by accident while downloading music from a peer-to-peer website”.

“He had a romantic attraction to a few women in Cape Town. However, he felt it improper to pursue any relationship very far whilst dealing with complex sexual issues that were against his Christian beliefs. He has never been sexually active with anyone, despite opportunity and desire.”

Following his first arrest, the man attended every counselling session, reports Davidson. He expressed remorse towards his victims and “felt torn” because he could not contact them or “correct” the situation. “As he started to develop some insight into his own sexual abuse, he was mortified that he was visiting the abusive cycle on others,” she reports.

“The age of his victims relates to the age of the abusers in his early childhood sexual re-enactment He probably felt emotionally close to his abusers” who he knew and socialised with.

“He then later in his life acts out with boys who trust him and with whom he felt close and connected – a classic case of trauma re-enactment The client’s child and teenage development (emotionally and sexually) was delayed due to the sexual abuse,” concludes Davidson.

‘Help me, I am a sex addict’

 

 


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