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Father slams church over handling of child's sexual assault case

The man claims a pastor at the Elim Seventh Day Adventist Church in Pacaltsdorp didn't adhere to the church policies on reporting sexual abuse cases.

Picture: freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN – An angry father from George says his church has let him down in its handling of a sexual assault matter involving his child.

The man claims a pastor at the Elim Seventh Day Adventist Church in Pacaltsdorp didn't adhere to the church policies on reporting sexual abuse cases.

His daughter had been harassed by an elder in the church, who was found guilty of the crime earlier this year.

Areal Haarder first confessed to sexually assaulting a 10-year old girl to a pastor at the Elim Seventh Day Adventist Church in 2016.

The pastor then informed the girl's mother, who later opened a case against Haarder with her husband. Another case of sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl was opened against him.

He was found guilty on both counts earlier this year and sentenced to 24 months of correctional supervision.

But for the father of the 10-year-old girl, this isn't the end. He believes the church failed in its duties by not following its own policies of reporting sexual abuse incidents.

“It's not about my family. It's about the many children within the Seventh Day Adventist Church that are possibly suffering as a result of people not reporting cases, even though it's mandatory."

Eyewitness News has asked the church about the man's allegations, but it has refused to answer the specific questions related to the case.

However, the church says it has a responsibility to report any such occurrences that it might become aware of.

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