The name Pastor Roy Perkins might mean nothing to you, but to the children of Maforga Mission’s orphanage in Mozambique he is a monster.
Roy, pictured above with his wife Trish, stands accused of years of continued sexual abuse at the Christian missionary outpost, and both government and international organisations repeatedly turned a blind eye.
To start, here’s City Press:
Originally Australian, but born in Zambia and raised in Zimbabwe, Pastor Roy has been caring for the girls in Maforga Mission’s orphanage, allegedly in a way akin to “prophets” who, locals say, “sleep with all the females” in desperately poor Manica province, 1 000km north of Maputo in Mozambique.
“Roy behaves exactly like that,” says missionary Stephanie Williams, who left Maforga last year…
Local authorities protected and continue to protect him, even after he was taken to court on sex abuse charges.
Mozambique remains a largely impoverished country, and back in the early 2000s they were still recovering from the ravages of civil war.
It was during this time that Roy built up an image of “the undisputed leader, the anointed Man of God”, making himself largely untouchable.
Despite many missionaries witnessing his abuse, and hearing firsthand accounts from the orphans, he continued unabated.
If the children spoke out, they were kicked to the curb:
“It was terrible” recalls [former Maforga missionary Gwen] McCarthy, who took Elina, Noemi and a few others to the police station.
She waited in the corridor and heard the local prosecutor asking Elina: “Was it coisas de adulto [adult things]?” McCarthy heard Elina say yes. She was sobbing.
When they returned, Elina was expelled from the orphanage “like a dog, without even a bag”, she says. Noemi is called ungrateful and she is shunned at the centre.
“They fear starving on the streets without him,” explains McCarthy. “Of course, he is always telling them that. ‘If I am expelled, who will feed you?’”
That case was eventually closed by local prosecutor Leonides Mapasse, ostensibly for “lack of evidence”, and the next time anyone raised concerns with the authorities they were stunned by the response:
…at a meeting in November 2009, they are stunned to hear district administrator Catarina Dinis decree that Roy and Trish, as the “parents” of the mission, must “forgive their children [the concerned missionaries] for behaving badly”.
Roy and Trish ruled with an iron fist, and those who interacted with the orphanage’s children reported that they seemed to be in a constant state of fear.
Oh, and you can bet that the pastor and his wife lived the life:
Bell also becomes increasingly concerned about the dilapidated state of the girls’ centre at the mission, which is managed directly by Roy and Trish.
“They kept it looking pathetic, presumably to make visitors give more. But when new things were donated or built, they would disappear. And while the girls were kept in trashy conditions, Roy and Trish had plenty of holidays.”
Dear old Trish is very happily complicit in all of this:
Finally, in October 2016, there is written proof. A volunteer finds an unfinished letter in which Trish talks of “Roy’s temptation” and “incidents with girls” – some going back to the late 1980s – on Trish’s desk. In new, increasingly angry meetings held over months, Pastor Roy is told to leave seven times. Each time, a date is agreed; each time it passes…
It is April 2017 when reporter Estacio Valoi arrives in Maforga. He leaves after interviewing missionaries, locals and some of the girls, but is soon asked to return – the Bouwmeesters’ [a couple who rescued some of the abused children] house has been attacked again. Pastor Roy has found out about girls “talking to journalists”.
Whistle-blower Noemi, who now lives with family in the village, has been grabbed by Pastor Roy’s policeman friend in front of her home, and almost kidnapped. Family members have reported that Trish came to their house and tried to get a small child to show her where Noemi was hiding. Missionaries have taken Noemi to another place of safety.
All of this leads us to now, and a whole lot of nothing going on by local authorities:
A fresh police case against Pastor Roy was opened last year at the central court in Maputo. Provincial governor Alberto Mondlane insists “that this will definitely be solved”. But nothing has happened so far.
Maforga’s locals are resentful. Most don’t like the fact that girls sleep with powerful men for food and airtime for their cellphones. They have no warm feelings for the missionary who allegedly exploits girls while pretending to bring civilisation and enlightenment.
When Henk Bouwmeester visits the municipality, the woman behind the counter says: “You must be the old man at the mission who is sleeping with all the girls.”
But many people in the community cannot afford to feed their children. And they know their government won’t help.
“I was so shocked when I found out that locals were hiding the secret of what Roy was doing,” recalls Williams. “I asked them why. They said that they were scared we would all leave if they talked.”
If you’re wondering what Roy and Trish have to say for themselves, it appears silence is golden:
The Perkinses did not respond to requests for comment…
In responses to later emails and SMSes, Pastor Roy insisted the accusations against him were untrue and that he would send legal documents to prove this.
He asked for more time, and asked whether reporter Evelyn Groenink “is a Christian”.
A week passes with neither documents nor answers. A final SMS urges the reporters not to publish this story.
Just another example of a sexual assault scandal, carried out by a ‘man of God’ and covered up by many toeing that same line.
Also, I wonder what is happening in the case of that youth pastor from Common Ground Church? You know, the one who was caught with all the child porn and blackmailing the youngest members of his congregation.
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