Kimberley - A former gardener at the Lesedi Day Care Centre in Floors was on Thursday found guilty of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl in the centre’s bathroom.
Cedric Golding, 31, on Thursday appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court’s sexual offences courtroom where magistrate, Jesse Clarke, explained his verdict.
Golding was initially charged with two counts of rape following the incident in September 2011. He pleaded not guilty.
The young victim testified during the trial that Golding, who worked as a gardener at the centre, took her from the playground to the centre’s bathroom, where he touched her vagina and anus, while the teachers “were busy inside”.
She also illustrated, with the aid of anatomically-correct dolls, what exactly happened.
The child’s mother also testified that the normally vibrant child had come home from the centre one afternoon and was “not her usual self”.
When she did not want to go to the centre the next day the mother asked her what was wrong and she told her what had happened.
The child also testified that she told her teacher about the incident, who, in turn said that she “would hit Golding”.
Golding testified that he never had, nor was even allowed to have, contact with any of the children and denied ever taking the victim or inserting his finger into her vagina or anus.
Teachers from the centre, as well as the headmaster, also testified that under no circumstances was Golding ever allowed to come into contact with the children.
The State handed in an exhibit of a newspaper photo where Golding was photographed at the centre with a child sitting on his lap.
Clarke, in summing up the case, said that the child was a “very good, trustworthy and reliable witness” who, despite being very young, answered difficult questions without hesitation and never deviated from her original story.
The child even told the court that her mother was lying after testimony she gave stating that her child told her that Golding had also previously touched her.
Clarke rejected testimony from the staff at the centre, saying that it was highly improbable that all the children would be supervised at all times and added that the teachers could have been busy inside the building when Golding took the child from the play area.
He further noted that the photograph, taken at a year-end function, indicated that Golding was at times allowed contact with the children.
He further dismissed evidence by the staff, who adamantly said that there was not even the slightest possibility that Golding could have committed the crime, by saying the victim trusted and felt comfortable with Golding and was also not afraid of him, because he was a long-time employee at the centre.
Clarke further said that, according to the mother of the child, she had been able to identify Golding from a distance.
Although the forensic nurse who examined the child on the day after the incident found injuries of two reddish tears on her vagina, consistent with penetration, Clarke said the witness’s testimony was so weak that he “could only accept that he saw the child” and disregarded all further evidence presented by the nurse.
This weak witness was a major contributing factor towards Golding being found not guilty on the two rape charges, as the child only testified that Golding touched her, while the mother told the court that the child told her that Golding put his pinkie finger in her vagina and anus.
Golding was found guilty on one charge of sexual assault and his bail was extended. He will be sentenced next month.
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