The Supreme Court has sentenced a pastor from the Apostolic Destiny Church to 3 years and 6 months’ imprisonment, after he pleaded guilty to committing an act of indecency with two younger people from the same church.
40-year-old Pastor Gorden Garae pleaded guilty to an act of indecency without consent and sexual intercourse without consent at the earliest opportunity.
The maximum sentence for act of indecency without consent is 7 years’ imprisonment and for sexual intercourse without consent is life imprisonment.
Garae sexually committed indecent acts on the two young persons several times at different locations from 2019 to 2021.
There were no mitigating aspects to the offending. Aggravating factors include repeated offence, gross breach of trust and the abuse taking place in situations where the complainants should have felt safe-in their church, in the midst of a church outing and in the pastor’s house with numerous others around at a time of mourning.
Supreme Court Judge Gus Andrée Wiltens stated that the offending is extremely grave given the position Mr. Garae held.
“He claims to be remorseful and regrets that his reputation will be greatly affected. However, the PSR writer considers that Mr. Garae showed no true remorseful and tried to shift the blame for his offending to the complainants whom he suggested had offered themselves to him.
“That claim is not accepted by this Court.”
“Mr. Garae states that he has attempted custom reconciliation ceremonies on 5 occasions, but the families of the complainants were not willing to entertain such,” stated Judge Wiltens.
Garae has already spent time in custody. His sentence commenced from September 4, 2021.
He was given a sentence start point of 7 years’ imprisonment, which was later reduced due to personal factors, his early plea and having no previous convictions.
He was given 14 days to appeal the sentence after the verdict was delivered on November 22.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST