The parents of a 10-year-old boy who was repeatedly raped by convicted paedophile Ian Appleton are “outraged and appalled” by the five-year sentence imposed on the former Catholic school teacher.
Days after Paarl Regional Magistrate Nomawethu Smile sentenced Appleton, the parents of the 10-year-old victim are still raw with emotion because of the “light sentence” imposed on a man they call a “notorious paedophile”.
Appleton, 72, a former Christian Brothers College teacher and scoutmaster, was also granted bail and leave to appeal his sentence.
In December he was convicted of raping a boy repeatedly between 2007 and 2009.
On Monday, the victim’s mother said: “I am outraged, completely outraged.”
She said members of the public and his other victims have criticised the magistrate for imposing a light sentence.
“He is a criminal and a perpetrator who is crying out for protection after he abused children for so many years. It’s a complete travesty,” she said.
The boy’s family have known Appleton for about 50 years, as the victim’s father attended the college. Appleton pleaded guilty in October.
The court also heard how Appleton had twice been admitted to the Child Abuse Therapeutic and Training Services, a Cape Town-based sex offenders’ programme.
Last week, magistrate Smile questioned the possibility of Appleton’s rehabilitation and chances of recovery, saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.
Appleton’s lawyer, John Riley, said: “The sentence is shockingly inappropriate. (Appleton) is not jail material.”
Appleton had to testify in his bail application and told the court that he only went to church, the shop and back, and to see doctors. He also cited a number of health problems.
Smile postponed the case to May 6, increased Appleton’s bail from R1 000 to R10 000, and placed him under house arrest until his next appearance.
The victim’s mother said: “I think the judge under-emphasised the severity of the crime. Even after she mentioned that child abuse is rampant in South Africa and that the Western Cape has the highest statistics of child abuse, she still imposes a light sentence.”
She hopes that his sentence will be increased during the appeal process.
The boy’s father said: “I am appalled by the magistrate and the complete lack of concern for the public. He has been to rehabilitation programmes since 1989 which means he has been up to his nonsense before then. He has ruined so many lives and now she gives him five years. That’s not justice at all.”
Previously a number of now adult men told the Cape Times how Appleton invited them to go skinny-dipping at his house when they were boys, showered with them and tried to fondle or perform oral sex on them.
A 40-year-old Cape Town businessman revealed how Appleton befriended his family during the 1980s. He said Appleton would show him pornographic magazines and masturbate.
After a few years, the man confided in his father and the family laid charges against Appleton. But a detective persuaded them to drop the charges because Appleton was considered a good candidate for rehabilitation. A counselling arrangement was made. - Cape Times