14-year-old jailed for raping toddlers

MASERU — A 14-year-old Leribe boy will spend the next six years in a juvenile centre after he was found guilty of raping two five-year-old girls earlier this year.

The teenager appeared in the Leribe Magistrate’s Court on Thursday where his trial was held in camera because he is a minor.

Police spokesman Masupha Masupha told a press conference this week that the boy sexually assaulted the two girls on two separate occasions earlier this year.

The girls are from Lisemeng and Sebothoane in Leribe.

Masupha said the teenager raped the first girl on April 18 and the second one on May 13.

The boy will serve three years for each count.

Masupha said the teenager was commuted to a juvenile centre for rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, two other boys from Quthing are facing charges of gang-raping a schoolgirl two weeks ago.

The police said the two, aged 15 and 16 respectively, allegedly gang-raped the 11-year-old girl on her way from school.

Masupha said the suspects and the victim are from the same primary school in Quthing, Mount Moorosi.

“They attacked and gang-raped her after school when she was going back home,” he said.

“The suspects were arrested immediately after the girl reported the incident to her parents.” They were expected to appear in court this week.

Masupha said police were worried by the rising cases of juvenile delinquency.

He said cases of juvenile delinquency were increasing because a large number of children were being brought up by people other than their biological parents.

He blamed the collapse of the family institution for the increasing cases of delinquency among teenagers.

He said this was creating a generation of bitter children who seek to solve their problems through violence.

“Most teenagers who are involved in criminal acts were not raised by their biological parents so their background is different from that of children who were raised by their own parents,” Masupha said.

“They believe in violence in order to get attention when trying to fight their own battles as no one protected them. They resort to bad manners to compensate for the lack of warmth and affection that they would otherwise get from their biological parents.”

He said the collapse of the family resulted in bitter children who grow up without parental love and care.

This, Masupha said, contributes immensely to a feeling of loneliness by children and in their efforts to deal with their problems they become violent.

“They are bitter and they believe that being around other people they should hurt them in revenge,” he said.

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