Child molester to appear in Pretoria High Court

NELSPRUIT – The state managed to succesfully appeal against a local convicted child molester’s sentencing that to many appeared to not be harsh enough.

The molester, Carl Lotter (44) pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent and sexual assault. His victims were girls of only eight and nine when the molestation started.

The abuse was reported in 2009 and the case dragged on for five years. It was only after Lowvelder and Carte Blanche launched an investigation into the delays that the National Prosecuting Authority appointed a specialist prosecutor to the case in 2011.

In August this year Magistrate Erwin Sithole sentenced Lotter to four years’ imprisonment, suspended for five years. This meant he was free to go home as long as he was not convicted of a similar crime during the next five years. He also had a previous conviction with a suspended sentence after being found guilty of sexually molesting a nine-year-old girl in 1997. This victim, now 25 years old, said Lotter had destroyed her life.

The victims, their family and the local community expressed outrage and shock at what many believed to be a weak sentencing.

The state managed to succesfully appeal against the sentencing and this appeal will now be heard early in February 2014 in the Pretoria High Court.

During Lotter’s lengthy trial two expert witnesses had recommended that the accused be given direct correctional supervision. Psychologically motivated crimes expert Col Petunia Lenono said that he posed, and would continue to pose a threat to children. She said he complied with all the criteria of a paedophile. Lotter’s defence lawyer, Mr Coert Jordaan, argued that she could not make that statement as she had not even interviewed his client. Lenono replied that she didn’t have to interview Lotter to come to the conclusion, as his actions had already ticked several of the characteristics needed to be classified as a paedophile. However, Sithole felt Lotter had complied with the conditions of a previous suspended sentence and had not committed similar offences for the suspended period.

He did, however, concede that his offences were serious, as was the duration of the abuse and his actions regarding them.

Jordaan had argued that there were no injuries but Sithole said this was because the abuse occurred over a period of time which explained this.

“The punishment must represent an appropriate deterrent effect to others.”

Sithole closed his sentence by stating that the court would not force Lotter to attend sexual rehabilitation programmes. “You are employed and earning a decent salary.” He added that Lotter should take the initiative of being rehabilitated on his own.

Erwee fought to have his name added to the Sexual Offence Register, but this was small comfort to the victims.

“But who will enforce this? Who will make sure that he stays away from other children?” asked their distraught mother. She said her daughters have barely slept since the sentencing and were petrified of accidentally meeting Lotter in a public place. “They are now the captives, while he walks free with a simple slap on the wrist for what he has done to our family.” The mother added that as a family they are attempting to put back the broken shards of their lives.

“But it is especially my older girl who is badly traumatised – she won’t even look at her father.” She concluded that her daughters had no closure on their abuse and felt they had been through the traumatic court system to no avail.

“They feel betrayed by the legal system. I would not recommend any parent whose child is abused, to even report it as the court experience is a constant reminder of their molestation, and the abuser gets away with it in any case.”

The father thanked the investigative officer, Ms Anita Horn, for all the sterling work she had done. “She had gone out of her way to assist us, and we are grateful to her and everyone else who stood by us.”

  AUTHOR
Landé Willemse
Journalist, Sport Coordinator and Editor of AgriECO

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