Pretoria - A disturbing trend of parents roping their biological children into sexual activities has emerged in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court this year and sent shockwaves through the community.
In March, a 34-year-old mother and a 40-year-old father from Monument Park were handed harsh sentences by a regional court magistrate for involving their two young daughters in sexual activities.
The couple cannot be named to protect the identity of the children.
The pair faced more than 20 charges, including indecent assault, being accomplices to indecent assault and rape, as well as child abuse and neglect.
The mother was found guilty of all the charges and sentenced to two life terms and an additional 30 years. The sentences will run concurrently.
However, the father was only found guilty of assault, indecent assault, child abuse and neglect. He was acquitted on the charges of being an accomplice.
He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for each of the counts he was convicted of.
The court ordered that his sentences also run concurrently.
During testimony the court heard how the girls, then aged five and three, were used as sex slaves between December 2005 and December 2007. The siblings were removed from the care of their parents in December 2007 because of neglect. The instances of sexual abuse came to light when the older sister told a teacher about them in 2008.
The siblings told the court how they were taken to several different venues by their mother and father.
One was a small hall with a silver roof where they were made to dance in a provocative manner for an audience of men and women. Another was a house with posters of naked men and women on the walls. They testified they had seen their parents at these venues at different times.
The siblings testified that they were forced to perform oral sex on some of the men and, in some cases, toy blocks were pushed into their private parts.
The men would also remove their clothes and have sex with them as well as lick their breasts and private parts. The men would pay the mother R100.
The siblings were also forced to take photos of their father’s genitals and forced to clean up after he urinated and defecated on the carpet.
One of the siblings described the incidents as “unpleasant” and said they happened because “there was not a lot of food on the table”.
During judgement, the court found the “woman and her husband did nothing” while their two daughters were indecently assaulted, raped and abused.
The court further heard that both the siblings displayed antisocial behaviour and needed intensive therapy to overcome their problems.
Magistrate Mariette Louw said at the time the task of sentencing was one that “rested heavily on the shoulders of the court” and the purpose of sentencing was to deter and prevent similar incidents from happening in future.
The man faced nine charges in terms of the Sexual Offences Act, including sexual abuse of a minor and statutory rape.
Brigadier Gerard Labuschagne, who has a doctorate in investigative psychology, testified in aggravation of sentence.
He presented the court with a report indicating that in cases where the rape of a minor took place more than once, the possibility of a serial rapist should be looked into.
He explained that certain characteristics could also be associated with paedophilia. Although he was not an expert in the diagnosis of the symptoms, he said, some of the characteristics in the case overlapped with paedophilia.
Evidence presented to court was that the man raped and sexually abused his daughter since she was seven.Sentencing of the man was postponed as he ended his mandate with his legal representative and the case was carried over to the new lawyer when he will learn his fate.
Grim details of alleged sexual abuse, sexual grooming and rape surfaced during the relatives’ bail applications in December 2010 and January last year in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court.
The court heard how two of the family’s biological children as well as two foster children, aged between six and eight, were taught different sexual positions.
They were also instructed how to have sex with each other.
The children were sexually groomed and also had to witness the adults having sex, the court heard.
Since their bail application the case has failed to go to trial because of constant changes in the accuseds’ legal team.
Further delays were caused by magistrate Pierre Wessels recusing himself from the trial in February last year. He had denied the accused bail. This was followed by the State refusing to grant the defence team copies of DVDs and photographs taken from the scene.
The State argued that it would gladly grant the defence team access to the photographic material and the DVDs but could not provide them with copies as it would be distribution of pornographic material.
The accused – who were all finally granted bail of R15 000 each in the Pretoria High Court in December last year face 23 preliminary charges that include rape, compelled rape, grooming, and using children to produce child pornography.
In the latest appearance in November, magistrate Pieter Nel was accused of being biased towards the State and asked to recuse himself.
The case was postponed to April to give the State time to provide the defence team with further particulars and for the magistrate to rule on the application for his recusal.