PHILIPSBURG–A 48-year-old man from the Dominican Republic was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months, six of which were suspended, on three years’ probation. The Court found it legally and convincingly proven that he had been in a sexual relationship with a minor girl.
The Court also ordered a contact ban until the girl reaches the consensual age of 16 on September 8. In sentencing, the Court did not follow the Prosecutor’s recommendation for the defendant’s immediate detention. Upon hearing the conviction, the defendant’s lawyer immediately filed for appeal.
The Prosecutor had called for a prison sentence of three years, one of which was to be suspended, on three years’ probation, with Parole Board guidance.
The defendant did not deny that he had been in a relationship with the girl from March 2015, when she was 13 years old. He said the girl had told him she was 17, going to be 18, and he believed her. She had also told him she had been with men older than him, he told the Court. He also said the sexual intercourse had been consensual.
The Court of Guardianship filed the case after it emerged that the girl, who was on drugs and alcohol, had a relationship with an older man. “Someone 46 years old should not go to bed with a 13-year-old girl,” the Judge told the defendant, who is a father of 10.
He also made the girl pregnant. He informed the Court that he wanted to continue his relationship with the girl and take care of her and her child.
Considering that the victim will not be turning 16 until September, the Prosecution objected to the Parole Board’s advice that the defendant take care of the girl and their child.
The Court dismissed attorney-at-law Geert Hatzmann’s pleadings to declare the Prosecutor’s Office inadmissible in its case against his client, or to acquit his client as the man has a good influence on the underage girl, provided her with a “stable situation,” and made her happy.
“The girl does not consider herself a victim. She wants my client to come home. We should not complicate matters for her,” Hatzmann said during trial.
Hatzmann said his client had made a mistake, but, “should my client be sent to Pointe Blanche as a sex offender, thereby disintegrating his family?” That would be a bad idea, the lawyer said.
The Court did allow the case, but imposed a lower sentence in taking the peculiarities of this case into consideration.
The Judge stated that the relationship between the middle-aged man and the teenager was in violation of the “social-ethical norm.”
In taking the large age difference into consideration, it does not matter whether the sexual acts were consensual or not, the Judge said.
There had never been an equal relationship between the two, the Judge said. In committing these sexual crimes, the defendant had let his own desires prevail and had damaged the girl’s “healthy development,” the Judge stated in the verdict. The fact that the girl had been under supervision of the Court of Guardianship only underlined the necessity to punish the defendant, it was added.
The Judge also made some “grave reproaches” where the child’s mother was concerned, but also took into account the defendant’s cultural background, which had prevented him from realising the seriousness of his acts.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/65519-older-man-gets-sentenced-for-sex-with-underage-girl