July 2021

Ex-Rochdale footballer carried from courtroom sobbing after being found guilty of rape and sexually abusing children

An ex-Rochdale AFC footballer fell to his knees and sobbed after a jury found him guilty of raping and sexually abusing six girls and a woman over a five-year period.

The Lowry Nightingale Court, in Salford Quays, heard how Jonathan Diba Musangu frequently preyed on young girls connected to his church.

Some of his victims were as young as seven-years-old at the time of the incidents.

After a four-week trial, the 23-year-old was found guilty of four counts of raping a child under 13, two counts of sexually assaulting a child under 13, two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, three counts of sexual activity with a child, and one count of rape.

Musangu, a former goalkeeper, of Fernhurst Street, Chadderton, earlier admitted a further charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Musangu, who also played for FC United of Manchester, Ashton United and Mossley AFC, was found guilty of 11 of the 13 charges put against him by a unanimous verdict.

He fell to his knees against a barrier in the courtroom, and sobbed loudly.

The hearing had to be paused whilst court staff carried him from the room.

Whilst he was leaving, Musangu cried out “I never did this, I don’t understand, it doesn’t make any sense”, whilst a member of his family clutched his head in his hands and cried.

Another family member could be heard screaming in shock from outside the courtroom, after she stumbled outside to see Musangu once he’d been removed.

The former footballer was also found guilty of rape of a child under 13 by a 10-2 majority, whilst the four men and eight women also found him not guilty of a count of rape.

The jury’s deliberations took just over 15 hours.

Throughout the trial, jurors were told that Musangu frequently preyed on young girls connected to his church.

His victims were as young as seven-years-old at the time of the incidents, with the oldest being a 19-year-old woman.

His youngest victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court that she was raped three times by the goalkeeper at his home when she was aged seven and eight.

Another seven-or-eight year old victim said Musangu led her into a church toilet when they were ‘making up a dance’ — where he told her to put her hands on the toilet and lower her clothing, to make her a good dancer.

That incident came after Musangu had led another girl, aged 10 or 11 — into the same bathroom and asked her to do the same, and put his hands on her waist.

Musangu’s other four child victims were aged between 12 and 16.

One girl, aged 14 at the time, went to a flat a family member was looking after in Rochdale.

When Musangu arrived at the flat, he asked for a one night stand — which the victim refused, as she did when he asked the girl for oral sex.

After the second refusal, Musangu exposed his penis, grabbed the girl’s head, and forced her to perform oral sex.

The court was also told that Musangu attacked a 12-year-old on the day of her prom.

When getting changed, Musangu asked her to massage his leg — before saying he had something to tell her in the upstairs bedroom.

When the pair got up to the top floor, Musangu ordered the girl to take off her clothes.

When she refused, he pinned her down to the bed, covered her mouth, removed her clothes, and raped her.

He then took photos of the victim and threatened to share them if she told anyone about the attack.

Musangu also engaged in sexual contact with a minor over social media, the jury heard.

Over a three-year period, Musangu sent and received explicit sexual videos with a teenage girl.

The pair attempted to have sex while she was underage. Their contact started when she was just 13-years-old.

Musangu’s only adult victim told the court that he came round to her student accommodation after a disagreement between the pair.

Judge John Potter told the defendant: “I want to make it very clear to you that I haven’t made any decisions yet as to the sentence you will receive or whether you should or shouldn’t be on bail until it is given.

“I will decide the latter tomorrow morning, when you must attend Minshull Street court.”

Musangu has been bailed in order to appear at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court tomorrow morning, where a sentencing date will be set.