Parents of sexual assault victims 'ridiculed' by police
Parents of the two Soweto girls who were allegedly sexually molested by a policeman are complaining of being ridiculed and mistreated by officers.
They said they had to wait for hours at Orlando East police station on Tuesday before a case was opened against the police officer.
“We went to the police station to open a case but some police officers said we thought we were special and made us wait for four hours,” said one of the parents .
This was after the officer tasked with investigating allegations of sexual abuse of 87 girls at AB Xuma Primary School allegedly also sexually molested two of the victims, aged seven and eight.
According to one parent, the officer also threatened the girls into silence. “The police officer threatened the kids not to talk about the incident, saying he ‘will do anything’ to them.”
Investigations were first done in a group but on Monday, the officer started conducting one-on-one sessions with the two. “Our kids thought it was part of investigation for the officer to fondle their private parts,” she added.
Another parent said she did not understand why a male officer was tasked to deal with sexually abused children.
“The class [where the sessions were conducted] is in a secluded area ... I don’t understand why there was no female officer present,” she said.
According to a source who wanted to remain anonymous, the officer allegedly asked a teacher, who was sitting in on the interviews, to give him space to do his investigations.
“He called the first girl and told her to take off her clothes and lie on the table. He put his finger inside her private parts.
“When he was done he called the other one [and] also told her to undress and lie on the floor. He opened her thighs and looked into her private parts,” the source said.
Education spokesman Steve Mabona said social workers were sent to the school to work closely with parents of the two.
“They also have to make sure affected pupils are in a position to come back to school without any ridicule. That’s why the officer concerned was removed from the investigation for the safety of the victims.”
Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said it was normal that a male officer would consult with sexually abused girls because the officer in question is also a trained forensic social worker.
“There is nothing untoward with the assignment of a case to the investigator,” she said.
Peters advised the parents to register a complaint with the station commander if they feel aggrieved by the manner in which they were treated.
Mabona said they were investigating if more pupils were sexually abused as the officer had interviewed 12 of the 87 girls.
The school was thrust into the spotlight in October last year when the 87 alleged that they were sexually assaulted by a scholar patroller.
The patroller’s case is before court.