Liberia: Teacher Jailed for Raping Student in Pleebo

A thirty-year-old classroom teacher identified as Joseph chea has been incarcerated for allegedly raping a six-year-old student in Pleebo, Maryland County, southeast Liberia.On Saturday, May 8, 2021, parents of the victim alerted the Women and Children Protection Section of the Liberia National Police in Pleebo that their daughter had been sexually abused by the suspect.She was immediately rushed to the Pleebo Health Center in the county where health authorities conducted examination and confirmed penetration.

Narrating the ordeal at the Pleebo Police detachment on Saturday, May 8, parents of the minor said, on Friday, May 7, 2012, their daughter came from school, showing signs of weakness and couldn't stand by herself.

The mother of the victim continued that they didn't really take it serious until Saturday morning, when she was observed defecating on herself because of the pains caused by the force penetration.

She was quickly rushed to the Pleebo Health center where administrator at the facility disclosed that the girl's anus was penetrated.

According to the mother, when asked, the girl admitted that she was sexually tempered with by her teacher Joseph Chea on campus during recess period.She explained Teacher Joseph Chea took her behind the school campus in Zone 5 community and committed the act, adding that she attempted resisting, but he overpowered her.

Quoting her daughter, the mother said the victim shouted endlessly but her voice didn't come out because Suspect Chea held his hand tightly against her mouth and threatened to beat or fail her if anyone heard about the act.

Though the suspect denied the allegation when he was arrested by the Liberia National Police Detachment in Pleebo, he spent a night behind bar before being forwarded to the Pleebo Magisterial Court.

While at the Court on May 10, it was indicated that suspect Chea committed statutory rape, which is above jurisdiction of the Pleebo Magisterial Court therefore, he will be transferred to the Fourth Judicial Court in Harper for trial.

The crime is in violation of Section 14.70 of the Revised Rape Law of Liberia which states, among others, "A person who has sexual intercourse with another (Male or Female) has committed rape if; (a) He intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus, mouth or any other opening of another person (male or female) with his penis without the victim's consent."

Penalties include life imprisonment or 10 years sentence, depending on gravity of the crime

Meanwhile, residents of the Zone 5 community, including administrator of the school, where the act transpired have expressed shock that Suspect Chea, who is noted for being quiet and respectful, could commit such act.

The school administrator said though he can't say out rightly whether the teacher did the act, but Chea was seen on campus on Friday, the day the alleged crime was committed.

Meanwhile, the issue of minors being raped in Maryland County has drawn the attention of citizens, particularly the county's gender coordinator. On Saturday, September 19, 2020 three suspects were arrested and sent to Harper Magisterial court for allegedly gang-raping a 14-year-old minor in Pleebo, Maryland Electoral district#2, while on Saturday, August 8, 2020, a 38-year-old male was incarcerated for allegedly raping a girl, 11, in Pleebo City, among other reports of similar incident in the county.

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