A family court advocate and Small Claims Court commissioner appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of rape, sexual assault and grooming of a minor.
The advocate, who may not be named yet as he has yet to plead, faces two counts on each charge in that he is alleged to have molested a girl – now 19 – when she was between six and 12 years old.
The state did not oppose bail for the advocate, who handed in his passport and stated in his bail application that he was the father of two children and the sole breadwinner.
He was released on bail of R10 000 on condition that he may not contact the family and must notify authorities if he leaves Gauteng.
The matter is being investigated by the Gauteng provincial Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigations Unit.
It is believed the alleged abuse happened in the girl’s family home when the advocate visited her parents, who were friends of his.
The family only became aware of their daughter’s allegations after she apparently had an extreme reaction during a romantic moment with her boyfriend shortly before her 18th birthday.
About six months later she told her mother what had happened to her as a child. Her mother, acting on advice, took her daughter for therapy before opening the case against the advocate.
It is understood the teen also opened the case to motivate other girls not to stay silent when abuse was happening.
According to Women and Men against Child Abuse’s Miranda Friedman, who was speaking generally, the ages of paedophiles’ victims ranges from babies to prepubescent children.
“If we’re talking about average ages, then we’re probably looking at two, three, four and five to eight is very common.
“With children who start showing signs they are developing into young adults at about 12, the paedophile loses interest and moves on to start grooming another child. This can take years,” said Friedman.
“Child sex offenders groom both the child and the family. The sexual abuse of children has no social boundaries.”
The case was postponed to March 19 for further investigations.