The mother of an eight-year-old girl that was reportedly raped recently in Yao-Lepula Town, Nimba County, is seeking justice from the government in the case, before it becomes too late for the daughter’s ailing condition.
Madam Lucy Fanyean informed the Daily Observer in Yao-Lepula Town, Buu-Yao Administrative District, that since the child was allegedly raped by one Bill Gbueh on July 19, 2018, police have yet to investigate the case.
Although the accused has denied the allegation, Madam Fanyean said the case was reported to the Sanniquellie Police Department on July 22, where the alleged perpetrator was arrested and detained. But a few days later, he was released without any further information to the victim’s parents.
“I am of the conviction that my daughter was raped by Bill Gbueh on July 19 and the case was reported to Sanniquellie. But the police have told me that the girl was not raped. Rather, she suffered from an infection,” she said.
According to Madam Fanyean, the little girl was living with the accused and his wife Theresa when he took advantage of that and raped her, nearly to death, an allegation Bill has consistently denied.
She quoted the victim as saying that Bill first started by fingering her, and later raped her by violently forcing his private part into her, thus causing the victim to bleed.
“After having sex with my daughter, Bill allegedly threatened to kill her if she told the story to anyone; not even her parents know what has happened to her,” Madam Fanyean said.
She said the day following the incident, while the little girl and her mother were on the farm, the mother noticed that the girl was behaving strangely.
“When we pressed her to tell her story, the little girl refused to explain what had happened between her and the accused; but later she opened up and said Bill did something to her,” the mother said.
Madam Fanyean said that when the case was taken to Sanniquellie, the police referred the girl for a checkup at a nearby clinic where it was confirmed that she was raped. But the police changed the medical report and informed the family that the girl was suffering from a “chronic infection.”
“We rejected the report, but the police told us to go for another checkup anywhere, and bring the report back to them. But when we returned with the examination report from the Saclepea Comprehensive Health Center in the county, they refused to endorse it,” Madam Fanyean said.
However, when contacted, the officer in charge of the Women and Children Protection Section of the Liberia National Police in the county, George Cooper, rejected Madam Fanyean’s claim. He said it took the victim’s family three weeks (July 23 to August 6) to come back with the examination report from Saclepea Health Center.
Officer Cooper said that all rape examinations can be conducted within 73 hours to establish the fact, “and so the delay from the victim’s parents suggested the report has been undermined.”
He added that there was no sufficient evidence to hold the suspect in detention and further prosecute the case.
“There was no physical evidence, like bloody pants, and the two medical examinations conducted were contradictory to the allegation,” Officer Cooper said.
He said the SGBV focal person in Nimba ruled out rape in the case, adding that the little girl has a chronic infection; while the report from Saclepea Comprehensive Health Center said there was a laceration, meaning she was raped. Such conflicting accounts made it hard to prosecute the alleged perpetrator, the police said.