Fri, 17 Jan 2020
A ‘feared’ pastor has been found guilty following a rape trial in which a Queen’s Counsel from No5 Barristers’ Chambers led the prosecution.
Michael Oluronbi, of Orchid Drive, Longbridge, Birmingham, was convicted of raping multiple members of his congregation. The offences took place in Birmingham and London.
Phil Bradley QC told jurors that what the pastor called “spiritual work” was really a ruse to commit sexual abuse.
A number of his child victims became pregnant and Oluronbi, a qualified pharmacist, forced them to have abortions. The jury heard that some of his young victims endured multiple abortions.
A family member of one of his victims confronted him last year and managed to record a partial confession on camera. In it, Oluronbi says “everything was my fault”. He also claims that the devil made him carry out the attacks. At trial, he claimed that any admissions during that meeting arose because he was being threatened and continued to deny the charges.
However, the jury found Oluronbi guilty of 15 counts of rape, seven counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault. His wife Juliana, 58, of Walker Road, Walsall, was convicted of three counts of aiding and abetting rape after helping to arrange a number of abortions for victims.
The verdicts followed a ten-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
The self-styled prophet’s crimes against six girls and a boy were committed over a period of 20 years, dating back to the 1980s.
The court heard that Oluronbi, originally from Nigeria, was seen ‘almost like a king’ by his congregation.
Phil Bradley QC 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 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.
“That activity began when his victims were children. There can be no doubt that its real purpose was to serve his sexual gratification.”
He told the jury that for some of the female victims the offending “progressed to repeated rapes, on many occasions leading to unwanted pregnancies and terminations” adding: “You will learn that this man, who was revered and feared by his victims, kept a vice-like grip on many of them and continued to abuse them well into adulthood.”
Oluronbi set up a splinter group of a Christian church, the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, in Hobson Close, Birmingham, where he committed much of the abuse following so-called ‘spiritual baths’.
Oluronbi and his wife will be sentenced at a later date. To read more about the case, visit: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/michael-oluronbi-convicted-rape-birmingham-crown-court-pastor-cherubim-seraphim-church-juliana-a9283336.html