Paedophile pastor jailed for 34 years over two decades of sexual abuse

6 March 2020, 18:56 | Updated: 6 March 2020, 20:11

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A "feared" religious leader who raped children over the course of two decades and forced some of his victims to have abortions has been jailed for 34 years.

Michael Oluronbi, 60, and originally from Nigeria, used his trusted position as an evangelical pastor to abuse his victims, including members of his congregation in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

The self-styled prophet was found guilty of offences against six women and a man in January.

The sentencing judge described Oluronbi's story as "one of the worst cases of sexual abuse of multiple children to come before the courts."

He would convince his victims to take part in a "spiritual bathing" which would "cleanse" them of evil spirits.

The 60-year-old was convicted of 15 counts of rape, seven counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault, after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court on 14 January.

Jurors heard of at least 88 separate occasions on which he raped his victims.

Oluronbi said he "wasn&squot;t meant to be human"
Oluronbi said he "wasn't meant to be human". Picture: West Midlands Police
Oluronbi's wife Juliana was found guilty of aiding and abetting rape
Oluronbi's wife Juliana was found guilty of aiding and abetting rape. Picture: West Midlands Police

Some of the women fell pregnant multiple times but were taken to abortion clinics or given drugs for a termination by Oluronbi, a qualified pharmacist.

Judge Sarah Buckingham said to Oluronbi that the real purpose of the "spiritual baths" was to "fulfil your insatiable sexual appetite."

In a confession video, recorded by one of his victim's relatives, the pastor admitted "everything was my fault" and claimed he "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," he said.

The victim's relative is then heard, off-camera, asking the pastor: "You know I said that you are a paedophile? Everyone knows that you're a paedophile. You know that that's the name they give to your type?"

Oluronbi raises his hands but with his eyes shut simply replies: "Fine."

West Midlands Police released the footage after his trial.

Sentencing "arrogant" Oluronbi on Friday, Judge Buckingham said: "You claimed that God was instructing you to conduct holy baths.

"Its real purpose was to fulfil your insatiable sexual appetite. The children feared you and this enabled you to continue your grip.

"Your offending has had an extreme and severe impact on all of your complainants. Any attempt to suggest otherwise would be without foundation. You abused your position of trust - they trusted you like God."

She continued: "You did this because you are an arrogant, selfish and vain man.

"In my judgment, your offending must be one of the worst cases of sexual abuse of multiple children to come before the courts."

Oluronbi was brought to justice after one of his victims, now an adult, came forward.

When eventually confronted about his offences, Oluronbi said "the devil made me do it."

Red ceremonial robes were seized from Oluronbi's house
Red ceremonial robes were seized from Oluronbi's house. Picture: West Midlands Police

The religious leader was linked to a Christian church in Edgbaston - the Cherubim and Seraphim Church - but set up a splinter group for about 40 adults and children at a separate location.

Oluronbi's offences also took place in London.

He was arrested at Birmingham Airport in May last year while trying to leave the country for Nigeria.

The 60-year-old's wife Juliana was also jailed for 11 years after being found guilty of three counts of aiding and abetting rape after she helped to arrange some of the terminations.

Both defendants will be required to sign the sex offenders' register for life.

Police believe there could be more victims and have urged anyone with information to get in touch.

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