Michael Oluronbi and his wife Juliana, have been jailed for a combined total of 45 years, after one of the victims came forward.
Oluronbi was found guilty of offences against six women and a man for sexual abuse. He abused children and adults over 20 years. Olurnobi convinced the victims to take part in “spiritual bathing to cleanse them of evil spirits.” Olurnobi was jailed for 34 years for offences of multiple rapes of members of his congregation.
He was convicted of “fifteen counts of rape, seven counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault and at least 88 separate occasions on which he raped his victims.”
Birmingham Crown Court heard that some of the victims became pregnant multiple times, but Olurnobi would take them to abortion clinics, as a cover up for the abuse.
His wife was jailed for 11 years for three counts of aiding and abetting rape, as she assisted Olurnobi in arranging abortions for the victims.
Both defendants will be required to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.
Sentencing “arrogant” Oluronbi on Friday, Judge Buckingham said:
“You claimed that God was instructing you to conduct holy baths. Its real purpose was to fulfil your insatiable sexual appetite. The children feared you and this enabled you to continue your grip. Your offending has had an extreme and severe impact on all of your complainants. Any attempt to suggest otherwise would be without foundation. You abused your position of trust – they trusted you like God.”
The judge continued:
“You did this because you are an arrogant, selfish and vain man. In my judgment, your offending must be one of the worst cases of sexual abuse of multiple children to come before the courts.”
When confronted about his offences, Oluronbi said “the devil made me do it”.
Oluronbi was linked to a Christian church in Edgbaston, Birmingham, the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, whose roots were in Nigeria. He had set up his own splinter group at another address and from where he began the “spiritual bathing.” The jury heard how the offences took place in Birmingham and London.
Phil Bradley QC, prosecuting, 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 added that for some of the female victims the offending “progressed to repeated rapes, on many occasions leading to unwanted pregnancies and terminations”.
“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.”
The victims described him as “controlling” and “almost like a king”.
Oluronbi was arrested in May last year at Birmingham Airport, while trying to leave the country for Nigeria.
Police are unable to say why he was leaving the country, but stated that he had recently been confronted about the abuse by one of his victims.
Detective Superintendent Nick Walton of West Midlands Police, described him as intelligent and that the pastor “laughed” in court on several occasions while giving evidence in his own defence. The police believe that there could potentially more victims who have not come forward as yet, and have urged anyone that was a victim of Olurnobi to come forward.
If you have been a victim of child abuse and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted on 0800 9555 094 or 0330 300 1103.