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Gerhard Ackerman convicted on sex trafficking, rape charges

Gerhard Ackerman. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Gerhard Ackerman. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 24, 2023

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Gerhard Ackerman has been convicted on more than 700 charges relating to the running of a sex trafficking ring involving boys.

The charges include attempted murder, rape, sexual exploitation of children and sex trafficking.

He initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ackerman was charged alongside acting judge and senior advocate Paul Kennedy. The two ran the human trafficking ring between September 2020 and July 2021. Kennedy has died by suicide.

The men were charged with sexually grooming children, being in possession of child pornography, creating child pornography, committing rape, sexual assault, compelled rape, compelled sexual assault, human trafficking, sexually grooming children and benefiting from sexually exploiting children.

In the Johannesburg High Court, Judge Mahomed Ismail read through his judgment, detailing how Ackerman exploited boys, some as young as 14.

Ackerman was further found guilty of being in possession of child pornography and producing child pornography.

In Monday’s proceedings, the court heard how Ackerman exposed himself to youngsters he was grooming for sexual acts including massages on clients.

It was further heard that Ackerman has disclosed Kennedy’s HIV-positive status to one of the boys.

The court rejected Ackerman’s version of events in which he claimed that the boys had volunteered their services to be a part of a massage service. The court said Ackerman had used the boys, knowing that they came from underprivileged backgrounds.

In court, Ackerman kept shaking his head and mumbling as the judge read the judgment.

The matter has been postponed to July 18 for a psychologist’s report to be submitted to the court.

IOL