A Nigerian bishop and his female secretary have been jailed after they sexually assaulted a teenage girl and a woman during private prayer sessions at their south London Christian centre.
Benjamin Egbujor, 55, of Harold Avenue, Belvedere, Kent, was sentenced at Inner London Crown Court to three years and four months’ imprisonment on Friday, March 31, after he was found guilty of sexual assault and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Rose Nwenwu, 43, of Thurlestone Road, West Norwood, London, was convicted of helping and encouraging Egbujor in relation to one of his victims, and taking part in that sexual assault herself. She was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
The offences took place from March 2011 to January 2013, at the Jubilee Christian Centre in Penarth Street, Peckham, where Egbujor was a bishop.
Officers in the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Command (SOECA) started an investigation in January 2014 after a teenage girl disclosed to her family she had been abused by Egbujor.
The victim, who was under the age of 16, said Egbujor told her she had been chosen to attend an individual prayer session.
After being taken into his private office, the girl was forced to undress and oil was poured over her.
As a result of further enquiries, officers also interviewed a woman in her 30s who disclosed she had also been sexually assaulted by Egbujor.
The adult victim said Nwenwu, who worked as Egbujor’s secretary, also took part in the sexual assault by taking her clothes off and pouring oil over her.
Egbujor and Nwenwu were both found guilty on March 9 after a five-week trial at Inner London Crown Court.
Egbujor was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for the sexual assault and four months, to be served consecutively, for inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Nwenwu was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for sexual assault and three years, to be served concurrently, for helping and encouraging Egbujor.
Both were made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will have to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register.
Detective Inspector Angela Craggs, of the Met’s Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Command, said: “Egbujor and Nwenwu exploited the trust of their congregation when they targeted and abused these victims. They believed their position within the church would protect them from facing justice, but the court has held them accountable for their actions. I hope this conviction serves to empower victims of sexual violence to come forward and report to police, and as a warning to offenders who think they can use their position to protect them from the law.”
Police Constable James Bell, of the Met’s Offences and Child Abuse Command (SOECA) said:
“Egbujor and Nwenwu preyed on their victim’s vulnerabilities, whilst satisfying their own sexual urges under the guise of private prayer. I commend the victims for their courage and commitment in this case. I fear there may be other victims who have not yet come forward and I urge them or any victim of sexual abuse to tell the police what happened.”