A mother from the East Rand was found guilty of a slew of child abuse charges, including the rape of her then-eight-year-old son.
She and the boy’s stepfather – who cannot be identified to safeguard the child’s identity – were both found guilty of rape in Johannesburg’s High Court on Wednesday. She was also charged with sexual exploitation, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily damage, and child abuse, while he was charged with sexual assault.
Both pleaded not guilty at trial, but the boy’s mother chose not to testify or summon any witnesses in her own defense. His stepfather, on the other hand, testified, claiming the boy was a liar. Acting Judge Thomas Mathunzi said he didn’t believe the child’s evidence was a fiction when he found them guilty on Wednesday.
He agreed with evidence presented by the state’s attorney, Adele Barnard, that children of the boy’s age did not have the competence to perpetrate such harm. The child’s stepfather claimed the boy had accused him because he was upset after the couple had divorced. However, Mathunzi pointed out that the boy had also named his mother as a suspect.
“[The stepfather’s] version is too far-fetched to be reasonably possibly true and is rejected as false,” the judge said.
From the age of three to eight, the boy was subjected to years of abuse at the hands of the pair, who raped, molested, and abused him on several times during a five-year period. In 2017, however, he reported his abuse and the pair was arrested after he arrived at a place of safety.
During the trial, it was revealed that the youngster was allegedly detained for days in a “dungeon” at a nearby strip club where his mother worked, where he was raped and permitted to be molest by other men and women.
The court also heard how his mother burnt and cut him when he tried to resist her advances, while his stepfather threatened to kill him if he reported his abuse.
The pair face the minimum sentence for the rape of a minor of life imprisonment.