NEWS

Court Hears Pastor, Who Calls Himself God, Told Woman She Would Be Redeemed By Having Sex With Him

WARNING: This content contains some graphic content. A 30-year-old woman who was allegedly raped by Pastor Jone Cokanauto, 54, of Jezreel Lion of Judah Church said in court yesterday  that
14 Jun 2017 10:35
Court Hears Pastor, Who Calls Himself God, Told Woman She Would Be Redeemed By Having Sex With Him
Jone Cokanauto outside the High Court in Suva on June 13, 2017. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau

WARNING: This content contains some graphic content.

A 30-year-old woman who was allegedly raped by Pastor Jone Cokanauto, 54, of Jezreel Lion of Judah Church said in court yesterday  that he told her he was God.

And if she had sex with him she would be redeemed.

She said: “While we were praying he told us not to look at him but submit our feelings and desires to him as he is God.”

 

Charge

Cokanauto is charged with three counts each of rape of the first woman which is alleged to have taken place between February 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006 at Taveuni and Nadera.

Cokanauto is again charged with count each of rape and indecent assault of the second woman which was alleged to have taken place between January 1, 2006 and July 31, 2012 at Taveuni and Nadera.

Cokanauto is further charged with a count each of rape and indecent assault of the third woman which is alleged to have taken place between November 1, 2005 and December 31, 2005 at Nasinu.

He is also charged with a count of attempted rape and two counts of indecent assault of the fourth woman which is alleged to have taken place between February 1, 2006 and February 28, 2006 at Nadera.

 

Opening statement by state

State counsel Meli Vosawale in his opening statement said: “We look at religious leaders as men and women chosen by God.

“Behind spiritual teachings we have a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

He further told the court that Cokanauto told the four woman that they needed to be redeemed.

 

Prosecution witness one: woman one

The first woman took the stand yesterday to give evidence and she told the court that she had joined the Jezreel Lion of Judah Ministry in 2002 and was with them for seven years.

“The reason I joined the ministry was because I could become a member of the youth group and the prayer team in the church,” she said.

Mr Vosawale asked her if she remembered any of Cokanauto’s teachings from his sermons to which she said she only could remember one about the woman who met Jesus beside a well and was offered water and was told to drink it after which she would never feel thirsty again.

The woman further stated that Cokanauto had said that the women were the church and also said that if they drank that water they would never be thirsty again.

Mr Vosawale asked the woman what Cokanauto was referring to when he said water.

The woman said: “The water will come out of the temple and the temple is the women and when you go to worship it is not spiritual but it is sexual intercourse.

“After the sermon there is a cleansing process as he would preach that all women were not clean.

“All women had to be clean because all the women were a temple and their womb would have to be clean.”

She further told the court that Cokanauto preached that once a women’s womb was clean then only could a baby be conceived in that womb.

The court heard that Cokanauto allegedly touched the women’s private parts and would pray before having sex with them.

It was highlighted by the woman that according to Cokanauto when he would allegedly have sex with the women it would be to cleanse their womb and then the women would become a temple of God.

And she further stated that if a woman was impregnated by Cokanauto the child would be known as the child of God.

Mr Vosawale asked the woman what happened on the day of the alleged rape to which she said that she was in Cokanauto’s bedroom with other colleagues praying while he was sitting on the sofa.

She said: “He told us to close our eyes, open our sulu and submit our desires to God.

“When I opened my eyes I saw two of my colleagues kissing him and while we were praying he told us not to look at him; submit our feelings and desires to him as he is God.

“He just told us to close our eyes and if we wanted to have sexual intercourse then we had to submit ourselves to him.

“I saw two other colleagues kissing him and he told them to not look at him as Cokanauto but a man of God being used by God.

“I was still sitting on the floor while others were giving him their sexual desires and after that he told me to kiss him.”

The woman told the court that he performed the alleged sexual acts on her and told her that it was ‘for her to be redeemed’.

Mr Vosawale asked the woman what was he redeeming her of to which she said that it was to redeem her of sexual intercourse.

The woman further told the court that she did not scream at that time because she looked at Cokanauto as a man of God and she believed that having sex with him was a redeeming process biblically.

The woman further told the court that she was alleged impregnated by Cokanauto twice and after having sex with her he would tell her to say a thanksgiving prayer.

The victim gave birth to her first baby boy when she was 18-years-old.

The woman told the court that after she returned to Taveuni she was staying in the same house as Cokanauto and that in one room he would stay with his legal wife and the other room was where she stayed.

She stated that Cokanauto in one of his biblical teachings said that he wanted to be like Abraham from the Bible who had two wives.

She said: “Cokanauto told me that I am his second wife and whenever he wants to have sexual intercourse with me he would come and have sex.

“He would come home and have sex with me and then return to his bedroom.”

Mr Vosawale asked the woman if she agreed to the sexual acts to which she said ‘no’.

“Once I took my stuff and my child and moved to the girls’ dormitory because I did not like what he was doing and what was being done to me,” she said.

The woman told the court that she gave herself to Cokanauto because she accepted that it was a biblical teaching.

Mr Vosawale asked the woman that if she had known that the redeeming process involved sex would she have done it to which she said ‘no’.

The case continues today as defence counsel Semi Valenitabua cross-examines her.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback:  jessica.gounder@fijisun.com.fj



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