Choir leader locked up after abusing girls as young as 8

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

 

THE trauma will "never end" for the child victims of a rapist evangelical choir leader who has been locked up for 13 years.

Some of the young victims will endure "cultural" ramifications for their entire lives because Shartiel Nibigira "penetrated them", Crown prosecutor Victoria Trafford-Walker told Brisbane District Court.

The former treasurer of the Free Pentacostal Church of Australia, based in Goodna, was sentenced on Thursday after a jury convicted him on 21 charges, including maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child.

The offences also included multiple counts of rape and indecent treatment with 17 charges relating to a 12-year-old girl who Nibigira abused for two years.

Other victims were as young as eight and many of the attacks happened while the 42-year-old was driving them home.

Some of the assaults occurred at Nibigira's house while other children were at the property.

He assaulted one girl as she cradled her little sister and he raped another girl following trips to Southbank in Brisbane.

Ms Trafford-Walker said Nibigira used his position of trust in the church and his community to abuse the girls.

The children and their parents came from war-ravaged South Africa where they faced extreme "tragedy" and they expected to lead violence-free lives in Australia, Ms Trafford-Walker said.

"He took advantage when (the girls) were alone or he created situations so as to isolate them ... solely for the purpose of his own sexual gratification," she said.

"These offences involved a monumental breach of trust - not only was he a member of their church, he held a respected role in the church and indeed in the choir.

"These children have been terribly affected by the actions of this man and those affects have echoed for many years.

"I suspect for many of these children this will continue to be the case."

Defence barrister Levis Menolotto told the court his client only raped one of the children once.

Mr Menolotto said another child only experienced "shallow penetration" and that the girl did not sustain an injury and she "wasn't hurt".

"It wasn't deep penetration and it didn't cause any injury," Mr Menolotto told the court.



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