18 years in jail for father who ‘groomed’, raped his child

The Roodepoort magistrate’s court on Monday sentenced a father to 18 years in jail for raping his daughter.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the sexual assault started when the complainant was seven years and continued until she reached 12 years.

“The father started grooming her from that age [between 2010 and 2015] using the bible as his yardstick, and would make her promise not to tell anyone,” said Mjonondwane.

During the trial, the court heard that the rape continued until his child was old enough to understand that her father had been violating her by fondling and inserting his fingers into her private parts.

Mjonondwane said the girl informed her mother about her ordeal. A few months after attending psychosocial sessions, the girl reported the matter to the police.

It is believed the accused and the mother of the child had been married since 1992 until the couple cut ties in 2019. A divorce was filed after it came to light that the father was sexually assaulting the girl.

In mitigating for a lesser sentence, the accused called several witnesses, including his ex-wife, who testified that she did not wish for the accused to go to prison as that would worsen her financial predicament.

Mjonondwane said: “She said they had met as a family at the psychologist’s office and discussed that the accused would make financial contributions towards the complainant’s university fees. They further discussed correctional supervision as a sentencing option.

“In her victim impact statement, the complainant detailed that it was the education she received from school about relationships and intimacy that made her realise her father took advantage of her and abused the position of trust.”

Prosecutor Danette van Schalkwyk argued that though the accused took full responsibility for his actions, the court should consider the fact that the complainant was left with emotional scars for life, inflicted at the sanctity of her home by a person who was supposed to protect and love her.

The accused pleaded guilty and was a first-time offender, the factors that magistrate Anneline Afrika considered when sentencing him to 18 years for rape and five years for sexual assault. The sentences will run concurrently.

Afrika said the court must apportion equal weight to the seriousness of the crime and the impact it had on the complainant.

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