22nd September 10:57 AM
I did not allow him to have sex with me - Second state witness
By Vijay Narayan and Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 20/09/2016
75-year-old pastor of Back to Eden Church Iowane Vakadranu.

The second state witness in the rape trial of 75-year-old pastor of Back to Eden Church Iowane Vakadranu told the High Court today that she did not give Vakadranu permission to have sexual intercourse with her.

The 23-year-old woman told prosecutor, Siteri Navia that she was 19-years-old during the time of the alleged incident in Vunika, Labasa.

The woman said that she had one on one sessions with Vakadranu.

In one of those sessions, she said that he told her to take off her clothes and he then had sex with her.

The alleged victim said that she cried and could not do anything.

The woman told the court that the leader of Back to Eden Church then told her to be strong and that is what God had appointed him to do.

She said that she did not give permission to him to have sex with her and she did not allow him to do that.

The alleged victim said that she did not tell anybody about the incident because they were told by Vakadranu not to tell anyone about what happens in the one on one sessions.

She revealed in court that she was interviewed by Police last year after her mother went to report the matter to police because this also happened to her mother.

The 23-year-old woman said that she is no longer part of the church because of the act that was done to her and her mother.

She also identified Iowane Vakadranu in court today.

The alleged victim also revealed that apart from being their pastor, Vakadranu told them that he is also their doctor and spouse, meaning that when they were sick they could not go to the hospital but had to go to him.

When Navia asked the woman to elaborate on what Vakadranu meant by the word spouse, the woman said that Vakadranu had told them that they cannot get married outside or have boyfriends.

Vakadranu was the leader and pastor of Back to Eden Church Ministry which is a breakaway of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

The 75-year-old ministry leader and pastor was living with 12 members of a youth group in Vunika, Labasa.

Vakadranu is charged with 4 counts of rape.

The alleged incidents occurred between 1st October, 2012 to 31st August, 2014 in Labasa and Tailevu.

The defence will cross-examine the second state witness this hour.

The prosecution will produce two witnesses in the trial while the defence counsel will produce one witness.

The prosecution was to produce 11 witnesses however the court was informed that some of the witnesses have passed away while some have gone overseas.

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