A SHOCKED parishioner has accused the Church of keeping Nduna Mpunzi's flock in the dark about the allegations against him.

Mpunzi was vicar of St Barnabas with Christ Church from September 2004 until August 2007 when he was suspended following the allegations.

The woman, who attends the church, said parishioners were suspicious when they asked questions about his absence.

"We kept asking about what was happening but they (the Church) said they didn't know," said the woman, who asked not to be named.

"It is really sad that somebody that was given authority to look after people took advantage of his position.

"You can't trust anybody these days.

"A lot of us have thought the church was being very tight lipped about this.

"He hadn't been with us for that long, he had a good job, it wasn't over-taxing and he had a nice home."

In 2004, Mpunzi was appointed vicar in the Worcester, St Barnabas with Christ Church Tolladine Team Ministry.

Previously, he was the priest in charge of St Aidan Shobnall, in Lichfield Diocese. His first religious post was as a clerk at Kimberley Cathedral - in a South African diamond mine town.

He was ordained in 1968 and moved to England in 1978 to work at Birmingham University.

In an article published in your Worcester News in October 2004 he listed his greatest achievement as being ordained.

He said: "I am a priest through and through, and being ordained has let me do all I have ever wanted."

In the same interview Mpunzi said he had no regrets in life and claimed he was a very laid-back person, who rarely got angry.

In a statement the Bishop of Dudley, David Walker, of the Worcester Diocese, said: "It is a matter of great regret to us that a clergymen should be convicted of such serious offences.

"The Church of England expects the highest standards of personal behaviour from clergy and officers working on behalf of the church.

"His conduct has had a damaging impact not only in relation to those he has harmed but also on the Church and the wider community.

"We continue to pray for Nduna and his family and all those involved in the case, as we also do for the parishioners in the parish in which he was serving."