‘My rapist stepdad must not get parole’
In 2013, Zwiegelaar, who was 53 at the time, was found guilty of the indecent assault and rape of his stepdaughters between 1991 and 2000 in Westville. He was sentenced to an effective 15-year term.
The sisters broke their silence about the abuse in 2010, two decades after the first incident had taken place.
The abuse started when Candice Bowman and her sister were 7 and 8 years old respectively, and continued for nine years.
Speaking to the Daily News this week, Bowman said a date in January had not been set yet for her to go before the parole board.
She was contacted by Correctional Services officials before Christmas and told of Zwiegelaar’s parole application.
“I was told that I could object in writing or I could appear personally before the board and that I had 30 days to prepare for this,” she said.
Bowman felt it was important for her to appear before the board.
“If I write a letter, it will be like I am afraid of facing him, which I am not. Ten years ago I started this thing and I have to finish it,” she said.
Bowman believes that Zwiegelaar, 60, has not been rehabilitated.
“I don’t care how old he is, I think he will be a danger to society if released. When they phoned me about his parole, I was also told that I could have a say in the conditions attached to his parole. There are women and children everywhere; what condition could possibly keep him away from them? Only full-time imprisonment can do that,” Bowman said.
In September, Correctional Services officials had contacted her, wanting to hand over letters of apology from Zwiegelaar to her and her sister.
“Those two letters were exactly the same, except the names at the top and the fact that he acknowledged my husband’s passing. You can tell from the letter that he had to write it as part of his rehabilitation. There was no remorse or sincerity in his words. These letters were given to me in September, but they were dated 2018.”
Since laying charges, she has encouraged people to use her case as an example. “He (Zwiegelaar) was charged years after the fact, and without any physical evidence. Victims must speak up. If he gets out after seven years, what confidence am I building in victims that I am encouraging to speak up?”