Pastor, 60, is found guilty of multiple rapes against children and adults in his congregation over 20 years]with help from his wife after one brave victim’s family secretly filmed him confessing
Michael Oluronbi was found guilty of the offences against six women and a man.In some instances, Oluronbi convinced victims to take part in ‘spiritual bathing’.A number of his victims became pregnant and he forced them to have abortions. His wife Juliana was convicted of three counts of aiding and abetting rape.
The ‘feared’ evangelical pastor is being prosecuted for using his trusted position to abuse children and adults in his congregation over 20 years, with help from his wife.Self-styled prophet Michael Oluronbi, originally from Nigeria, was found guilty of the offences against six women and a man – five of whom attended his church.In a confession video taken last year by a victim’s family member, Oluronbi claims the devil made him commit his terrible crimes and described himself as ‘an animal’.
Some of the offences were carried out after he convinced victims to take part in ‘spiritual bathing’, which he claimed would ‘cleanse’ them of evil spirits.
He was convicted on Friday after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, and his offending can now be reported after restrictions were lifted.
During the trial, a jury heard that some of his young female victims became pregnant multiple times but were taken to abortion clinics for Oluronbi, to cover up his tracks.
<>In a confession video taken last year by a victim’s family member who had confronted him, the ‘feared’ 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.’
The footage was released by West Midlands Police after the trial.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, who appears on camera in a formal shirt and tie speaking animatedly, raising his hands but with his eyes shut, then replies: ‘Fine.’He also claims the devil made him carry out the abuse.
Despite the recording, Oluronbi denied any wrongdoing during the trial, forcing 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 60-year-old wife was convicted of three counts of aiding and abetting rape after helping arrange some of the terminations.The religious leader was brought to justice after one of his victims, now an adult, came forward. The Jury heard that Oluronbi was linked to a Christian church in Edgbaston, Birmingham – the Cherubim and Seraphim Church – whose roots were in Nigeria.He set up on his own splinter group for about 40 adults and children – separate to the church and located at another address – where he began a practice of ‘spiritual bathing’.
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 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 is 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’.