Liberia: “Rape Accusation Was Unfounded,” Says Police

SOS Children’s Village's former national director, Augustine Allieu  accused  the NGO “Wrongful Dismissal”  .

... As they exonerate SOS Children Village Former Director General of said accusation, and another person as DNA evidence did not match

It has been a difficult month for Augustine Allieu, the former Country Director of the SOS Children's Villages in Liberia, who was relieved of his position because of rape allegations. 

Allieu, who has plied his career in the international development sector in the subregion, was accused of allegedly raping a 16-year-old minor and then, placed under police investigation along with two other male staff of the SOS for the alleged rape act.

But nearly six months down the line, the Liberia National Police (PDF) has finally released its investigation into the matter — exonerating Allieu of the accused crime which would have landed him in prison if convicted. The investigation of Allieu and his co-accused culminated in the performance of a paternity test on the baby, to determine who fathered the baby borne by the 16-year-old as the result of the rape. 

The paternity test was carried out to establish ownership of the child and to identify the rape suspect as a result of the police struggles to establish sexual contact between the victim and those accused.

“That DNA results obtained from John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital through the Minister of Justice established that ‘Allieu’ is excluded; [and] not the father of "baby" because the probability is 0.00%. [And] that the allegation of Rape against Augustine Allieu was unfounded,” a report from the police Women and Children Protection Section (WACPS) said.

It added that the “Victim’s description of suspect Allieu’s bedroom is a complete mismatch; that Victim initially asserted that she was sexually abused by Allieu at the a La Lagune Hotel on October 3, 2021. She later refuted her assertion that Allieu sexually abused her in [the] Hotel but rather at his Congo Town residence on October 3, 2021. [The] victim statements as to the place suspect Allieu sexually abused her is inconsistent.”

Rape is a second-degree felony in Liberia and is punishable with a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment. However, in certain cases, rape is considered to be a felony of the first degree, which can garner a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

This includes if the victim was less than 18 years old at the time of the offense and as in the Allieu case, the victim is 16 years. Individuals aged 17 or younger in Liberia are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such action may result in prosecution for statutory rape. 

Allieu worked for the SOS Children's Villages in Liberia, having served leadership posts at several international NGOs in Liberia and Sierra Leone. 

He once served as Head of Programme Strategy at Plan International, West, and Central Africa Region and as Country Director at Plan International Sierra Leone, and Country Director at Plan International Liberia in succession.  Allieu also served as Head of Programs at the Catholic Relief Services Liberia Program.

Established in 1949, the SOS Children's Villages is the world's largest non-governmental organization focused on supporting children without parental care and families at risk. 

Today, it provides free medical services and educational facilities in 135 countries and territories worldwide, including Liberia. The SOS Children’s Villages Liberia, a member of the SOS Children‘s Villages International Federation, began operations on January 1, 1981, following an agreement between the Government of Liberia and SOS Children’s Villages International. 

The first Children’s Village was opened in Monrovia, Montserrado County, followed by the second Children’s Village in Juah Town, Grand Bassa County. Its programs in Liberia include support for children up to their transition into adulthood, through education, healthcare, and a family strengthening program.

The rape allegation against Allieu, who has been exonerated, occurred after the 16-year-old minor, who had once stayed at the SOS Children’s Village in Grand Bassa County, left the charity safehouse.

Her case was initially reported to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in October 2021 after it was first reported that she had gone missing. 

However, when the Ministry probed further, it turned out that she had been raped. She however denied the rape allegations until later, when it apparent that she was pregnant. 

The Ministry then forwarded Alieu and his co-accused to the police for investigation.  According to the police, as part of its investigative findings, the rape victim maintained that at no time was she sexually abused by any of SOS staff at the time she was at SOS Children Village and that the crime was perpetrated against her at the time she was no longer at the village.

The police noted that a 16-years old minor also, in separate accounts, consistently maintained that at no time did William Jalieba sexually abuse her; instead it was the SOS Accountant in Grand Bassa County, named Wayne A. McIntosh.

Jalieba and McIntosh were two of Allieu’s co-accused and were being investigated for the alleged rape of the 16-years old minor. 

“That the green apartment identified by victim ID as the crime scene situated within an unpainted fence at SKD Boulevard Community belongs to a friend, McIntosh,” the police found. “That McIntosh has visited the apartment on multiple occasions, both in the absence and presence [of its owner], and had taken several friends and loved [there].”

The police noted that McIntosh then took the victim to the apartment situated on SKD Boulevard and had sexual intercourse with the victim in November 2021.

 “The victim maintained that Wayne Mcctintosh sexually abused her twice at a premise located in the SKD Boulevard community,” the police report said. “The DNA result obtained from John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital established that Wayne A. McIntosh is the biological father of the victim’s baby; with 99.99% probability.” 

“In view of the facts and circumstances established during the Investigation, the Investigators have resolved to exonerate William Jalieba from the allegation of RAPE levied against him due to lack of evidence and charged Wayne Mcctintosh with the commission of the crime STATUTORY RAPE and forwarded him to Court for prosecution on August 18, 2022.”

Meanwhile, the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sussie Telleh-Bility, announced that the allegation of sexual misconduct against Allieu and Jaliebah is unfounded, thus they have been exonerated of accusations of rape.