TB holds up teen sex abuse trial

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IOL  Human Trafficking Case_7599 DONE CAPE ARGUS Maranatha Lotriet, left, and Denise Muller, two of three women charged with rape and sexual exploitation of a 13-year-old girl, outside the Cape Town Regional Court. Picture: Jason Boud

Cape Town - The trial of five people accused of the rape, sexual exploitation and human trafficking of a 13-year-old Atlantis girl has been delayed because one of the accused contracted tuberculosis at Pollsmoor Prison.

The mother and stepfather of the teenager, who cannot be identified to protect her identity, are in custody. Their co-accused Maranatha Lotriet, Evelina Fortuin and Denise Muller are out on bail.

On Monday, the stepfather was not present in the Cape Town Regional Court because of his illness, and prosecutor Merle Engelbrecht said the matter could not continue without him.

He was having treatment in an isolation ward at Pollsmoor’s hospital, and the court was awaiting feedback on his condition.

The other four accused stood quietly in the small dock during brief proceedings.

The mother and stepfather are accused of selling the 13-year-old girl for sex for as little as R20 a time.

The State alleges that the mother sexually groomed her daughter over a period before pimping the child to the stepfather, and was present during most of the incidents.

It is further alleged that the teenager was taken to a park or bushes by various people to be raped, at a price of up to R1 000 a time.

Alcohol was apparently later bought with the money.

It is also alleged that Lotriet, Fortuin and Muller pimped the girl to a doctor.

The child reported the incidents to her teacher which led to the arrest of her mother.

Last year, police were still searching for three more suspects in Mossel Bay.

The matter has been postponed to next Monday for a medical report on the stepfather.

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Cape Argus

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