Volunteer sexually assaulted

MASERU — A 26-year-old Maseru man who is facing charges of sexually assaulting and robbing an American Peace Corps volunteer was this week denied bail by the Maseru Magistrate’s Court.

Tsepo Letsipa, who lives in Ha Abia, allegedly committed the crimes in broad daylight on March 20 near Pioneer Mall in Maseru.

The complainant is a volunteer in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Her name and age have been withheld from this report to protect her privacy.

In opposing the bail application on Monday the prosecution said it had reason to believe that Letsipa was likely to interfere with investigations if released.

The prosecution said Letsipa could skip bail because he is also facing a robbery charge.

According to the charge sheet, Letsipa allegedly sexually assaulted the complainant by “by inserting his penis in her mouth, squeezing her breasts and inserting his finger into her vagina”.

The charge sheet alleges Letsipa also robbed the complainant of her cell phone and M80.

As the charges against him were read, Letsipa who was clad in a black sweater with green stripes on the sleeves, stood motionless in the dock with his arms folded.

He then announced to the court that he was applying for bail but the prosecution moved swiftly to thwart his attempt for freedom.

“We have a strong case against the accused,” said the prosecutor Gcinimuzi Tshabalala.

Tshabala said apart from the prosecution’s fear that the suspect would interfere with the key witness they were also worried that the suspect might abscond because he has a robbery case pending before the court.

Tshabalala said both the Lesotho and American governments wanted the case to be finalised in a month’s time to coincide with the complainant’s completion of tour of duty in Lesotho.

She said if the complainant goes back to America it would be expensive to bring her back to Lesotho to attend the trial.

The accused was arrested following an artist’s impression the complainant drew and submitted to the police after the incident.

The accused was remanded in custody and trial will proceed on July 28, 2010.

In a separate trial before Magistrate Molemo Monethi, three men facing a charge of armed robbery were remanded in custody until court next Tuesday.

The suspects are alleged to have robbed Lineo Mokone who works for Maluti Motors of M120 000 belonging to the company.

The accused are Karabo Thulo, 24, of Khubetsoana, Tukula Makhakhe, 34, of Peka ha Kotola, and Lira Ts’ilo 23, of Korokoro.

The other suspect Teboho Makobane of Marabeng is still at large.

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