Queensland church rapist sentenced to jail

Cheryl Goodenough
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BRISBANE COURTS STOCK

A Queensland pastor has been sentenced to 11 years jail for the rape of two young choir members

A Queensland church leader whose family died while escaping from a war-torn African country could be deported after serving a jail sentence for raping and indecently assaulting young choir members.

Relatives of Shartiel Nibigira sobbed and wailed while listening to the evangelist being sentenced to 11 years' jail after being found guilty on 21 charges.

Paramedics were called when family members collapsed on the floor outside the courtroom after the sentencing.

The father-of-eight committed the offences at a house during choir practice, or while the girls were transported for practices or church events, the Brisbane District Court heard on Thursday.

"You have in each case violated a position of trust," Judge Tony Moynihan told Nibigira. "You abused your position of power and authority."

Nibigira, 44, raped and indecently touched one girl at least eight times in 2011 and 2012, when she was aged between nine and 11.

He raped another girl in a bathroom during choir practice and indecently assaulted her at another time.

About a week after the rape he gave the girl $20 in an attempt to buy her silence.

Judge Moynihan said Nibigira had caused significant physical pain in some instances.

Nibigira lived in poverty before fleeing Burundi in 1997 to seek refuge in Tanzania in 1997.

His parents and siblings were killed during the escape.

Nibigira lived in a refugee camp for 10 years before coming to Australia in 2007.

The court heard Nibigira has post-traumatic stress disorder and was anxious and fearful about being deported to Burundi.