Another pastor has landed in the media headlights. This time, it’s a Ugandan pastor arrested for allegedly committing a lewd and lascivious act on a girl while on a domestic flight.
HALLANDALE BEACH – THE VOICE magazine/Advancing Christian Life & Culture
Ugandan Pastor Jackson Senyonga, 41, the senior pastor of Christian Life Centre was arrested and then released on bail. He was accused of fondling a 13 year-old girl while aboard a United Airlines flight on August 16th from Denver, Co. to Oakland, Ca.
On the day of the arraignment the Almeda County State Attorney’s office issued a letter of intent not to file, dropped the charges, and noted that no further court appearances were required.
However, the incident is not over yet. Almeda County relinquished jurisdiction to the federal government, which has authority to investigate and try incidents that take place during a U.S. flight.
“This matter has been transferred to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for further review and possibly prosecution,” Sgt. J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office told The Voice magazine. “The pastor did give a statement and was very cooperative with police.”
The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oakland declined to comment, as the investigation is ongoing. However, Robin Urbanksi, a spokesperson for United Airlines, told The Voice magazine, “We are aware of an alleged incident on this flight concerning Jackson Senyonga and are fully cooperating with the local authorities and the FBI.”
Senyonga, owner of Top Radio and Top Television in Kampala, is one of Uganda’s most recognized pastors. His Christian Life Church (CLC) is one of the largest in the city with more than 40,000 members.
PASTOR RESPECTED IN THE U.S.
According to the CLC website, in the United States, Jackson has ministered with spiritual leaders such as Jack Hayford, Bill Bright, Pat Robertson, Rick Joyner, A.R. Bernard, John Kilpatrick, and many others. He also belongs to Dr. C. Peter Wagner’s International Coalition of Apostles.
Pastors Dave Booye of Rogue Valley Fellowship and Ron McGee of The Rock of Wilmington both sent letters of endorsement and support of Pastor Senyonga to The Voice.
“According to Pastor Jackson he was sitting in the middle seat on the flight. On one side of Jackson was a gentleman sitting near the window, on the other side was a young girl traveling alone sitting on the aisle,” United States Board of Directors of Christian Life Centre said in a statement.
“The man had fallen asleep and was often falling over into Jackson’s space which caused Jackson to lean away from him in the direction of the girl. At no time did he conduct himself inappropriately or without integrity.
“He never even spoke to the girl or the man. However, the girl was apparently uncomfortable and spoke to a flight attendant, which resulted in her moving to a different seat during the flight. Upon landing Jackson was detained by the police as the flight attendant who talked to the girl notified authorities that Jackson might have inappropriately touched her. Pastor Jackson says, “This is absolutely untrue.””
SENYONGA’S WIFE STANDS BY HUSBAND
In Africa, there are diverse opinions and thoughts about Senyonga’s character. Pastor Alex Mitala, general overseer of the National Fellowship of Born Again Churches in Uganda, told The Minitor Online that he believes it was the flight attendants who were Jackson’s real accusers, not the girl because the air hostesses were very curious when the girl asked to take another seat. “I have never heard anything like that about him, I have no reason not to believe him,” Mitala said. “It’s unfortunate that it happened like that.”
On the other hand, Pastor Solomon Male, the reformist head of Arising for Christ Ministries, offered a scathing assessment of Senyonga’s ways, describing him as the flamboyant pastor who “reaped a lot of money” but never accounted for it.
Eve, Senyonga’s wife of 18 years, is standing by her husband in spite of these allegations. “I’ve witnessed his integrity even before we married and his moral integrity during our marriage. I am very proud of him for the way he conducts himself in all situations and I firmly and strongly believe this is a false allegation and that the Lord will vindicate him.”
The Board of Christian Life Centre believes fully that this process will come to an end quickly: “We ask that you stand with us and pray that the truth will come to light and that the ministry that God has put together will grow even stronger.”
Contact The Voice magazine editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
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