A Nigerian pastor who raped children as part of religious ceremony is to serve for 20 years in jail in the United Kingdom.
Prophet Michael Oluronbi was found guilty in January of offences against six women and a man. Five of those attended his church. Oluronbi carried out his attacks by convincing his victims to take part in a “spiritual bathing” ritual which he told them would “cleanse” them of evil spirits.
Judge Sarah Buckingham, who sentenced him to 34 years behind bars, said his case was “one of the worst cases of sexual abuse of multiple children to come before the courts” and described him as an “arrogant, selfish and vain man”. She said the “spiritual baths” were actually designed to “fulfil his 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,” the Judge said while sentencing Oluronbi. In statements read to the court by the prosecution, one of the victims said Oluronbi’s actions made her question if her life was worth living.
Oluronbi, who had blamed the devil for his actions, was convicted of 15 counts of rape, seven counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault, at Birmingham Crown Court.
Oluronbi’s wife, Juliana, was also convicted of three counts of aiding and abetting rape and helping arrange some of the abortions of his victims, with some becoming pregnant multiple times. She was jailed for 11 years. As a pharmacist, he would take them to clinics to end the pregnancies.
During the trial, the jury was told how Oluronbi was linked to a Christian church in Birmingham, where he formed a splinter group for about 40 adults and children, separate to the church and in another location. In that group, he had the victims take part in “spiritual bathing”.
During the trial, Phil Bradley QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “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.