Liberia: Mother of Rape Victim Troubled over Release of Alleged Perpetrator without Her Consent; Gender Ministry Admits Misstep
Monrovia – Family of an alleged rape victim are pleading for justice and calling on the attention of government and other rights stakeholders to what they called “swift release” of the alleged perpetrator from the Monrovia Central Prison.
The mother of the alleged rape victim, (named withheld) alleged that her 14-year-old daughter was raped by one Mark Sarvice in January, 2014 in Caldwell, Coffee Farm Community, while the community was isolated and people had gone to work.
According to her, the alleged perpetrator was in the employ of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Custom Department, when he allegedly raped the minor.
The mother stated that following the incident, she immediately reported the matter to the Liberia National Police detachment in Caldwell who took the victim for checkup at the Redemption Hospital where medical report confirmed that she was tampered with.
As a result of the medical report, she said the police charged and sent to court the alleged perpetrator, and was placed behind bars, he has, however, been released without her consent.
“This few days, I surprisingly saw Mark Sarvice in town and then I ran back to the Ministry of Gender to ask the lawyer who was pleading the case on behalf of my daughter and she said yes, they freed the man because he was sick. I said why I was not informed before they could release him, but the lawyer, one Cllr. Kathleen Pyne Makor said they called me on several occasion, but my phone was off,” the mother said.
“That is not true, because I work with the Ministry of Transport and received calls daily from customers, so my phone is never off.”
The victim’s mother said she suspects that the Ministry of Justice Sexual and Gender Based Violence Division is tampering with her case.
She said it was shocking that the head of the department, Atty. Isaac L. George, had claimed not to know about the case.
She also wants the Women Civil Society Network to intervene in the situation, stressing that violence against her 14-year-old daughter might just quiet down without any justice to the perpetrator if nothing is done immediately.
When contacted, Atty. George said he was not heading the case, but rather another person, encouraging FPA to contact Cllr. Makor.
Responding to the claim, Cllr. Makor said the perpetrator was released on medical bill, adding that there was a misstep leading to his release.
Cllr. Makor further clarified that it is by law that when a person in custody is ill, he or she must seek medical attention.
“The Superintendent sent us a complaint that the alleged perpetrator was sick and with the medical report, from JFK that he was sick and needed to go under special treatment by eating different foods stuffs, we allowed his lawyers to sign for him.”
“The case is not over yet, after the medical attention his lawyer will bring him back for the May term of court,” Cllr. Makor said.
Cllr. Makor, however, said by her allowing the perpetrator to be released without the consent of the victim’s parents was a serious misstep legally.
But she noted that all efforts are being exerted by her office to ensure that Sarvice appears for the May Term of Court.