The father who drugged and raped seven of his 12-year-old daughter’s seven friends made attempts at apologizing to his young victims and their families during sentencing arguments in the Thembalethu Regional Court on Monday.
The George father was said to have given the victims who were between the ages of 10 and 12, sleeping tablets which left them unconscious before he raped them. The incidents took place during 2012 and 2014 but he was arrested in 2014.
The 51-year-old man who was slammed with a 3000 count charges entered into a plea bargain on January 25. He pleaded guilty to 67 of the charges, 37 of which related to the rapes and the rest to the creation of pornography as he photographed the unconscious girls’ naked bodies.
With much tears trailing down his cheeks, he apologized saying: “I am sorry for what I have done and I hope you can forgive me one day. I know I won’t be able to (forgive myself),”
He also thanked the parents of his victims for not letting out their anger upon his family. He said this while briefly looking over his shoulder at the families and then back with his head looking down at his feet.
This apology was later criticized by prosecutor Brandon Smith, who said he believed it focused more on himself than the victims and that the court should take a careful look at the man before sentencing.
“This is not your run-of-the-mill uneducated man. He has a BA degree with main subjects of psychology and communication. This is a person who used these tools at his disposal to groom these girls, to create peace of mind among the girls and their parents,” he said.
Smith added that the rape incidents took place for over a year, which gave the man ample time to stop and come forward.
However, the man’s lawyer, Marius van Huyssteen, pointed out various issues that could lessen his charges and these issues include that he suffers from depression, has been estranged from his wife for more than a decade which led to a recent divorce, that he has been behind bars for 15 months already, that he had no related previous convictions, and there had been no physical injuries to the girls.
But Smith put forward the report compiled following a psychological evaluation of the man where he was classified as a serial rapist, that he showed signs of being a paedophile and there was significant risk of his return to the act.
Addressing Van Huyssteen’s claim that the victims had no physical injuries, Smith pointed out that there were several pieces of evidence that showed how the incidents affected victims.
“I believe the fact that he medicated the girls had nothing to do with sparing them the trauma, but was done out of self-interest so that he would not be caught.
“Some of the girls became moody, some started eating more than usual and there were infections. While they were unconscious, their bodies knew something was wrong,” Smith said.
Smith wants the accused man to face a separate sentence for each of the rapes and if the court wanted to show mercy to hand down one sentence for the charges relating to the pornography. The case has been postponed by Magistrate Eugenia Jacobs to 14th of March.