Natasha Pretorius
4 minute read
13 Dec 2019
3:02 pm

Mother and daughter tell harrowing story of paedophile partner’s abuse

Natasha Pretorius

The man has since been charged with 154 years behind bars after abusing a 13-year-old girl for almost six years.

The abuse started when the teen was just five-and-a-half years old. Image for illustration: iStock

For a young girl and her mother, an excruciating two-year-long battle finally ended in the High Court in Johannesburg this week.

On Wednesday, the man who made the 13-year-old girl’s life unbearable was sentenced to 154 years in prison on charges which included rape, grooming, taking explicit photos of the young girl and possession of child pornography.

Krugersdorp News has the names of all parties involved, but because the girl is still a minor, they cannot be identified.

Joe* was Jane’s* life partner, and lived with her and her daughter Jess* for six years.

“He was the most amazing man; he did everything for us. I was so in love with this man,” Jane said.

ALSO READ: Children allegedly sold to couples and paedophiles – report

The abuse started when Jess was just five-and-a-half years old, and she said that it would mostly happen when her mother was not home or while they were swimming.

One day, Jane bought a book for Jess about growing up and womanhood.

“After working through the book with my mother, I realised that these were the types of things that grown-ups do, not children,” she explained.

On January 26, 2018, while driving home with her mother, she plucked up the courage to tell her mother that Joe was abusing her.

Jane told her daughter to pretend that everything was fine when they got home and that she would phone the police the next day.

The next morning, Jane decided to check Joe’s laptop.

“I realised that if the things my daughter were telling me were true, there would be some evidence. When I opened his laptop, I saw child pornography being downloaded.”

She explained that he had always been busy on his laptop, but that she did not question it because he said that he was downloading movies and games for his children.

Jane got in contact with a local doctor, who phoned detective Delene Grobler-Koonin, and from there they started to build a case.

Joe was arrested on January 31 2018. When police informed him they were arresting him for child pornography, he admitted that he had downloaded it.

“While I walked out of the house, I told him that he would pay for what he did to my daughter, to which he responded, ‘I am sorry, my angel. I am sorry, my angel,” Jane explained.

After almost a year in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court, the case was referred to the High Court in Johannesburg. Another year later, the now 46-year-old man has been found guilty and sentenced.

While Joe’s bail conditions prohibited him from using the internet, or even having a laptop or phone, a family member of Jane’s spotted him on a chat site on October 3. Jane immediately informed the police.

“The doctor, the investigator and the prosecutor were all amazing. God sent the right people on our path,” Jane said.

She explained that Joe always denied everything, and even when presented with medical records, he said that he had caught her with a friend, or that it was her father who did those things to her.

During the trial, Joe allegedly told the court that Jess would swim topless when she was five and would sometimes lift up her dress. That aroused his interest in explicit images of children. According to Jane, the more than 4,000 images and videos of child pornography that were found on Joe’s laptop and hard drive were extremely explicit, and he was classified as the highest grade of paedophile.

Jess said that over the years, Joe told her that if she would tell her mother, Jane would be mad at both of them and kick them both out of the house for what they had done.

“He made me believe that I was doing those things with him and that I was the one at fault,” Jess said.

Although the family is very happy with the sentence, their road to recovery has only started. Jane said Jess still struggles with a lack of confidence and has problems interacting with men.

Jess wants other girls in her situation to know that they should not be afraid to tell someone what is happening to them.

“Your mother is the one who carried you for nine months. She loves you and she will believe you,” Jess said.

Jane said she wished to warn other parents that the culprit could be a father, an uncle or a friend, and to be careful of the internet.

“These men target vulnerable women with children. Unfortunately, I fell for it and it is a decision I regret. If I could, I would go back and change it.”

She also said to look out for signs.

“Although Jess was a very happy, healthy child and I never suspected anything, there were signs. She used to sleep-walk and grit her teeth, but I never suspected this could be the reason.”

She is very sad that this happened to her daughter but said that she believed God wanted them to warn other mothers and their children, and that is why they are telling their story.

*Names have been changed

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