Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]
Monrovia – The mother of a 15-year-old girl allegedly raped by a 47-year-old man identified as Sean Tolbert, says her daughter is in severe pains and can no longer go to the toilet freely.
Madam Theresa (not her real name) is worried about her daughter’s condition, calling for advanced medical check-up on victim’s genitals and anus.
Since the incident, according to the victim’s mother, she (victim) gets constipation often, which is causing financial burden on the family.
“She asked me mostly to fix her cereals,” the mother said.
“I want her go for advance medical treatment for a specialist to work on her; she’s not bending or squatting. Every time she tries to bend, her facial appearance can tell you that she is in pain.”
“She was an active child, but since this incident she’s not talking to anyone, unless her little sister sometimes, most often when I come from work, she can be asleep.”
“My main concern now is my child health, she should be treated, and I can say she’s traumatized, and sometimes when I get home I try to engage her but she hasn’t opened up to me since the incident occurred.”
The situation has already created severe psychological impact on the victim, who is now appears traumatized.
“Whole day she in the house, she feels shy, she don’t accept visitors anymore, and since this incident she has refused to go back to school,” her mom said.
The victim is eighth grade student, according to her mother, she has requested for residence relocation over fear of stigmatization by community members.
“I am afraid because of the stigma and the trauma currently she is faced with and it’s time that the suspect faced justice.
“The ministry of Gender has not taken over since this case was reported; they only told me to be with the women and children of the Liberia National Police,” she said.
“When I asked if she wants to go back to school, she said ‘Mamie, I will be shy Infront my friends so please change my school’.”
Sean Tolbert, 47-year-old accused of sexually abusing the girl, is incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison pending court hearing.
According to the police charge sheet, the “Victim genital, clitoris was seen swollen, rectum loosed and extra fleshy painful muscle found, minora painful on touch, Genital seen with milky discharge and rectum has bruises and extra fleshy from reach,” after she was assaulted.
Tolbert was arrested on April 27, based on a complaint filed by the victim’s mother, along with a medical report, which established that the victim had been sexually abused.
The Women and Children’s Protection Section (WCPS) of the Liberia National Police then charged suspect Tolbert with statutory rape.
A brief hearing was heard by Magistrate Kennedy Peabody prior to his incarceration.
Defendant Tolbert has persistently denied the allegation, but according to police charge sheet, in early March the victim went to the defendant’s house and he offered her French fries and chocolate.
After eating, she reportedly felt dizzy and later fell asleep in the defendant’s room at which time he allegedly took advantage of the situation to rape her.
The police said during preliminary investigations with witnesses, it was established that the victim went to the defendant’s home on several occasions and at sometimes with some of her friends.
“She was also accompanied by the defendant’s security officer, identified as Augustine Wleh, along with a description of the crime scene in the defendant’s room, where the probe discovered a flat screen video, black fan and white air-conditioned, as described by the victim, along with the medical report from Star of the Sea Hospital, which was enough to convince police that defendant Tolbert committed the offense and should be charged with statutory rape,” the charge sheet added.
“The evidence is consistent with the allegation levied against defendant Tolbert by the victim, witnesses’ testimonies, physical evidence and a photograph of the crime scene, along with a photo of the victim after the incident; the investigation has resolved to charge the defendant with statutory rape.”
There has been a lot of concern that those accused of rape do not get urgent attention. And because the crime is not bailable, over 500 of such cases are pending to be prosecuted, and many of the accused have spent more than a year in pre-trail detention.
Last week, at the celebration of the Africa Pretrial Detention Day, Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, chairman of the Liberia Law Reform Commission, accused the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)and the Supreme Court of keeping detainees in detention more than the law allows and therefore “grossly violating their human rights.”