A church pastor allegedly raped a 12-year-old girl after telling her mum she was sick and needed to be healed by him.
The 51-year-old priest lured the child away from her home and raped her by a river in Thabazimbi, Limpopo, South Africa, it is claimed.
Her mum started panicking when the girl did not return home on time and her father set out to find her.
South African police spokesman Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said the dad discovered his daughter 'half-naked, running and screaming for help'.
According to Times Live, the Colonel said: "The arrest of the suspect [on June 17] follows an incident where he allegedly arrived at the victim's house at about 4.30pm for a prayer session, and then told the victim's mother that the girl was sick.
"He further claimed the girl should go with him to the nearest river so that she can receive her healing.
"She informed the father, who then followed them [to the river]. He was surprised to see his child half-naked, running and screaming for help. The frightened girl then alleged the pastor raped her."
Colonel Ngoepe said Limpopo's acting provisional police commissioner, Major General Jan Scheepers, condemned the 'continuous acts' of sexual violence against children 'in the strongest terms'.
He added: "The general has further urged parents to take care of their children and not abandon them into the hands of strangers, regardless of their religious beliefs, to avoid similar incidents."
The pastor, who has yet to enter a plea, was denied bail in court yesterday and will remain behind bars until his next hearing on Thursday.
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