Elsies River Pastor accused of raping children and beating women

He is an upstanding member of society and owns three churches. Still, ironically, behind closed doors, the Elsies River pastor is a different person – he is accused of raping a woman and two children.

72-year-old Pastor Alex Warner is accused of assaulting and raping two minors, Lauren, aged four and Lucy, 10, and beating his wife, Celeste Brown.

Brown married Warner in January last year and moved into a house in Elsies River. Brown said she found nothing strange leading up to the marriage, except for some attributes that put her adult children off, but it was nothing alarming.

Brown said as weeks passed, he started to reveal himself as someone she would no longer recognise.

“He started forcing himself on me even when I would say no. He would make me do things I did not want to do,” she said. “He would even go as far as tying me to the bed and locking the door. He would hit me, and it was horrible.”

Brown’s young grandchildren moved in with her later, and as time passed, she started noticing a change in Lucy’s behaviour. Not only did her behaviour change, but she started developing gum boils in her mouth and Lauren thrush.

Brown remembers a particular incident in October when Warner allegedly beat her after an argument about a bathroom key.

“As I grabbed the key, he came after me, punched me in the ribs. I fell to the ground, and he kicked my head against the wall. My adult daughters were upset, and then his four grown sons came and hit us,” she said.

She added that she went to the police station the following day and went to two medical facilities.

“My children were very concerned, not only because of the thrush and boils. Lucy had mentioned that she was touched inappropriately. And what the doctors found was shocking,” she said.

She said, in anger, while looking at Lucy: “He raped, sodomised, and did other sexual acts with the child. Not once but for weeks and months. The results of the tests on Lauren made me even angrier; it showed that she was also raped. She is still a baby”.

Warner was arrested on 8 October 2021. He was in police custody for four weeks and appeared in court but is currently out on bail. Warner is expected back in court on 22 August 2022, after the case was postponed in July.

“I can’t sleep properly at night because all I do is worry and stress. The justice system has failed my grandchildren and me. Why is he still walking around free after what he did to us?” she said.

Action Society has been assigned as a watching brief on the matter and will ensure that the case is being dealt with accordingly. Action Society will attend all future court cases.

 

*All names changed to protect the victims’ identities.

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