Rhenish Mission Church Pastor Elvis Jansen, who is accused of raping a minor member of his congregation, was denied bail yesterday in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court in Windhoek by Magistrate Ileni Velikoshi.
Police also told the court that since Jansen’s arrest two weeks ago, more people have come forward with information alleging Jansen had sexually molested several minors. Allegations also surfaced of a rape case that was apparently brushed aside in Walvis Bay.
Jansen has been fighting for his release on bail since the day after his first court appearance two weeks ago. As during his previous court appearances, the courtroom was packed with sympathisers of the clergyman, who prior to his arrest on suspicion of molestation preached the gospel to the small community of Groot-Aub near Rehoboth.
Jansen is facing a charge of statutory rape, or alternatively having sexual intercourse with a minor.
Public Prosecutor Fillemon Nyau objected to bail being granted to Jansen, citing the seriousness of the offence, the public interest and fear the accused will intimidate the alleged victim.
Magistrate Velikoshi told Jansen yesterday that he cannot consent to bail at this stage, as there are legitimate concerns from the State that he will interfere and intimidate State witnesses.
According to the magistrate, there is also the fear that Jansen might abscond, as he allegedly tried to do after the allegations of rape surfaced.
Velikoshi said as Jansen is aware of further possible charges against him, the temptation to abscond may prove too much for him.
During her testimony in the bail application, the investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Catherine Araes, who heads the Women and Child Protection Unit, informed the court that other claims of sexual impropriety involving minors have surfaced following the arrest of Jansen. She said there are also claims of a rape charge in Walvis Bay that was apparently buried.
She further alluded to the speculation that his daughter is not the biological child of his wife, but the result of an affair with a schoolgirl.
Advocate Winnie Christians, who represents Jansen, argued that all the evidence of Araes is mere speculation, as she did not provided a single piece of conclusive evidence that Jansen will interfere with witnesses, or not stand his trial.
He claimed Jansen is a pillar of the community and should the court order it he would not make contact with the complainant, or her family. It will be presumptive punishment to keep Jansen in custody while the police try to make a case against him, Christians argued. He implored the court to uphold the principle of innocent until proven guilty in a competent court of law and allow Jansen to join his family while he awaits the outcome of the investigation and concommitant court case.
During testimony in his bail hearing, Jansen denied having had sexual intercourse with the minor. He claimed he had an open relationship with the youth in his parish and they could discuss anything with him, even matters of a sexual nature.
That is how the text message landed up on the girl’s phone, he said. He said the girl had asked him by text message about sexual positions and he explained it to her.
Jansen’s case has now been postponed to November 16. He is being held in custody at Hosea Kutako police cells. Christians said he would lodge an appeal against the bail ruling in the High Court today.