A Cape Town woman who was raped in front of her young son says she is shocked at the “lenient” sentence handed down to her assailant.
The Fish Hoek woman, whose identity is being protected, said she was “absolutely disgusted” that serial sex offender Jan Johannes Schietekat had been ordered to serve 15 years in prison.
The 62-year-old was convicted in July last year of sexually assaulting and raping the woman – in full view of her two-year-old autistic son – on the Bloubergstrand beachfront nearly four years ago.
“I’m totally freaking out. It’s absolutely disgusting,” the woman, now 30, told the Cape Argus.
“How many more people are going to get hurt before he is put away for life? What happened freaked me out. I was scared, but I’m even more terrified now.”
She said: “I’ve been through all this, for what? For 15 years?
“And on good behaviour he will get out early. It makes me sick to my stomach, I don’t want to be in this country anymore.”
Cape Town Regional Court magistrate Michelle Adams found Schietekat’s version of what took place on September 17, 2008 was “false” and convicted him on two counts of rape and one of sexual assault.
Schietekat had told the court, among other things, that he thought the woman was a prostitute.
In sentencing him on Wednesday, Adams said she found there were exceptional and compelling circumstances to justify a deviation from the prescribed minimum sentence of life for the crimes.
She said she had considered Schietekat’s age, the time – three years and nine months – he had spent in jail as an awaiting-trial prisoner, and the fact that the woman had not been physically harmed that day.
However, while the woman was not injured, the trauma she endured was “still visible and ongoing”, Adams said.
Quoting from the victim impact report, she said the woman had revealed that the incident “changed her life, took away her confidence and that she no longer felt safe to walk on the road to the park or the beach”.
“This is something she will carry with her for the rest of her life,” she said.
Adams said aggravating factors were that the sex acts had been committed in front of the little boy and that the sentences imposed on Schietekat for his previous convictions had not kept him from reoffending.
Also, Schietekat had not shown remorse and had tried to paint the woman in a negative light.
Adams added, however, that the sentence should be “blended with mercy” and all factors should be examined.
Schietekat was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for each count of rape and two years for the sexual assault.
Five years of the sentence imposed for one of the rape charges and the two years for sexual assault are to run concurrently with the remaining years, leaving Schietekat 15 years to serve in jail.
The woman, who works with special needs children, is struggling to deal with the incident and the sentence imposed.
“I’ve been through all this, for what? For 15 years. And on good behaviour he will get out early. It makes me sick to my stomach, I don’t want to be in this country any more.”
The woman had testified that Schietekat forced her at knife-point to move from the shore to the nearby sand dunes.
She said Schietekat touched her breasts with the blade of the knife, penetrated her with his finger and forced her to perform oral sex on him.
To gain his trust, she had given him her cellphone number after the incident, in the hope he would contact her and she could have him arrested.
Schietekat pleaded not guilty to the charges on August 26, 2009, and testified that he approached the woman because she was crying on the shore.
Later, after chatting to her, he thought she was a prostitute and paid her R100 for oral sex.
He said she and the woman had exchanged cellphone numbers to secure future business.
Adams said in delivering judgment: “The evidence of the accused is riddled with contradictions, improbabilities and inconsistencies. He adapts his version from one question to the next, and this leads to more contradictions.”
Adams described the woman as a “clear and coherent” witness who made a good impression on the court.
Schietekat’s advocate, William Fisher, is expected to bring an application for leave to appeal against Schietekat’s conviction on August 3.
Schietekat’s previous convictions:
Jan Johannes Schietekat is no stranger to the inside of a courtroom or a prison cell. He has 11 previous convictions, most for sexual offences, dating to 1972.
* July 26, 1972: Convicted of theft, fined R60 or 60 days in jail.
* December 18, 1972: Convicted of theft, fined R90 or 90 days in jail.
* October 17, 1978: Convicted of indecent assault, fined R500 or six months in jail.
* July 31,1981: Convicted of indecent assault and sentenced to four years in jail, suspended for five years.
* August 29 1986: Convicted of rape, two counts of attempted rape and indecent assault. He was sentenced to an effective 14 years in jail.
* December 12, 2002: Convicted of three counts of indecent assault but one count was overturned on appeal. He was sentenced to six years in jail for each indecent assault.
* June 28, 2008: Convicted of theft and fined R200.