HOLY Cross Church bishop and owner of Rekai Tangwena Children’s Home in Nyanga — Livingstone Tonderai Nerwande — is alleged to have indecently assaulted three vulnerable children at his orphanage.
Nerwande, who rose to fame in the 1990s when he was still a Anglican Church priest through his exorcism powers, is expected to appear in court today facing six counts of indecent charges.
The 77-year-old man of cloth is set to appear today before Nyanga provincial magistrate, Mr Ignatio Mhene. Some of the victims are crippled teenagers who were staying at the orphanage for safety and special care.
According to court papers which are in possession of this paper, Nerwande is alleged to have perpetrated the abuse on the minors since 2014 and the crimes surfaced this month.
In February 2014, on an unknown date, but around 2pm, he allegedly called the 16-year-old victim to his office.
“The accused person told the complainant that he wanted to pray for her. The girl knelt down and the bishop started praying while holding the complainant’s head. He went further to fondle the complainant’s breast and licked her ears without her consent,” read the papers.
However, in April 2014, a caregiver at the orphanage, Ms Charity Nyarukokora (40) noticed a change of behaviour by the complainant and enquired if there was anything wrong.
The complainant disclosed that she was being abused by the bishop.
In April 2015, a 17-year-old victim with an artificial leg and a crippled right arm was also allegedly abused. The complainant, who is a Grade Seven pupil at St Faith Jairos Jiri, came back to the orphanage for holiday.
“She proceeded to the accused person’s place of residence to show him her school progress report. Upon arrival, the accused person was present together with his wife. Moments later the bishop’s wife went outside to attend to some visitors, leaving the complainant and the accused in the dining room.
“He then told the complainant that he wanted to pray for her.
“During the prayer session, he fondled the girl’s breasts and inserted his hands into her skirt. He caressed her private parts without her consent,” read the papers.
He threatened the complainant with dismissal if ever she disclosed the incident to anyone. The girl allegedly went back to the orphanage and reported the matter to the caretaker, Mr Elisha Nyamuzuwe, who did not believe the juvenile’s story.
In August 2015, he allegedly forced himself on the 16-year-old juvenile for the second time. He fondled the girl’s breasts during a prayer session. The bishop allegedly pounced on the same girl again in November 2015 after she finished writing her Grade Seven examinations. He allegedly used the same modus operandi and abused the teenager under the guise of praying for her.
In January 2016, at around 9am, the accused person told a caregiver at the orphanage, Ms Nyarukokora that he wanted to do some counseling sessions with individual children including the 14-year-old complainant.
He invited the complainant first into Rufaro Library. While inside the library, he told the complainant that he wanted to pray for her, but went on to abuse the girl by caressing her breasts.
The girl reported the matter to a caregiver. At the same day at around 5pm she went to the Department of Child Welfare and Probation Services in Nyanga and reported the matter.
The case was reported to the police last Friday leading to the bishop’s arrest.