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Johannesburg - Workers at an NGO apparently operating illegally have told harrowing tales of youngsters being raped and abused at the facility.

Sparrow Village Home in Florida, west of Joburg, is believed to be so bad that young boys from disadvantaged backgrounds end up graduating to become fully-fledged criminals.

An 8-year-old girl was allegedly repeatedly raped by an 18-year-old at the home for over a year.

Speaking of the alleged rapes at the home, a caregiver said the girl had come to the home as a 3-month-old as she was neglected by her mother.

Founder of the home Corine McClintock, who according to its website is an ordained pastor, was also accused of victimising and intimidating workers.

She declined to comment when The Star visited the home last week.

McClintock refused to let our news team leave the premises, swearing at one of the workers and ordering them not to open the gate.

According to the organisation’s website, Sparrow Village operates as a hospice, a children’s home and offers outreach programmes.

The caregiver shared her first encounter and observations of the alleged rapes on the 8-year-old girl.

“I noticed that she started becoming restless during regular check-ups but didn’t think it was something because you know how children are.

“This was last year and I told McClintock but she never did anything about it.

“However, at a check-up this year, a doctor examined her fully and immediately admitted her. She was taken away from the home after it was discovered that she was sexually abused.”

She said criminal cases were not opened because McClintock never followed up on her promises to take the girl for further assessment after she had informed her of the alleged abuse.

The woman said she also suspected that the mother of the 18-year-old knew what was happening because she took the teenager out of the home shortly after he was caught allegedly attempting to rape the child again on Christmas Day last year.

The worker said the incident was again reported to McClintock but no steps were taken.

“I am happy that she is no longer at the home because all the older boys would have taken further advantage of her.

“She is currently at a welfare care centre and is being monitored and looked after by a social worker from the Rahima Moosa Mother And Child Hospital in Joburg.”

Another employee said they were charged R100 a month to stay at the home and gardeners, kitchen staff and security earned R3400 and were also forced to work Saturdays and Sundays for free.

She said that even the people McClintock claimed were disadvantaged were made to pay rent.

“A lot is happening in here. She also allows them to have sexual intercourse with the younger kids. Also, others are in relationships and live in a cohabitation arrangement.

“I can confirm a relationship of a 12-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man,” the worker said.

Florida police station spokesperson Captain Lydia Dikolomelo said they could confirm a case of theft was opened in June against one of the residents but needed more time to look for other files and the case numbers .

Gauteng Department of Social Development spokesperson Mbangwa Xaba said it took the allegations of rape seriously and that a team was dispatched to the facility to investigate the claims.

“As far as records of the Gauteng provincial government can show, the Sparrow facility was shut in 2014 and it doesn’t provide any services that it was intended to in terms of the social development services,” Xaba said.

He also said that if allegations of the facility providing partial care after being shut down were true, necessary steps would be taken by the department after a thorough investigation.

The Star