Zimbabwean Pastor in the UK cleared of sex offences returns to ministry
By Victoria Weldon Scotland Herald
A preacher who was cleared of sex offences earlier this week has returned to his Stirling ministry.
Walter Masocha had stepped down from his position at the Agape FANMI (For All Nations Ministries International) church pending the outcome of court proceedings.
However, after a sheriff threw out charges alleging he sexually assaulted two women, the Pentecostal preacher was welcomed back to ministerial duties by his congregation at the weekend.
A spokesman for the church trustees said: “Walter maintained his innocence throughout this dreadful ordeal for him and his family.
“He has conducted himself with the utmost dignity and insisted on tendering his resignation from his church positions until the proceedings were completed which resulted in losing his salary.
“As a result he and his family have endured severe financial hardship.
“Church members had great faith in Dr Masocha and the Scottish legal system and that has now been vindicated and everyone is delighted that he has returned to his rightful position without any stain on his character or reputation.
“It was a highly charged emotional occasion which was filled with great joy.”
Mr Masocha was last year convicted of sex offences but his conviction was quashed on appeal earlier this year.
Two more women from his parish then came forward with further allegations but the case at Stirling Sheriff Court was thrown out on Wednesday due to insufficient evidence.
Sheriff Wyllie Robertson ruled that the claims made by one of Walter Masocha’s alleged victims could not support evidence of serious sexual assault by the other.
A church spokesman added: “Dr Masocha is eternally grateful to the church members for their great support and the members are delighted to welcome back to his ministry where he belongs.”
The spokesman added that the church did not fund Mr Masocha’s legal costs and their insurance did not cover any of the lawyer’s fees associated with the court case.
The church said it had also become subject to an investigation by charity watchdog the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) over alleged financial impropriety, but OSCR dismissed the claims.