THE afflicted community of Station Hill has suffered another blow with the revelation of an alleged rape of a four-year-old boy at the end of January.
What makes it even more shocking is that the alleged perpetrator is also a minor, a 15-year-old boy who has appeared in court but has been released into his parents’ custody until the next court date.
The media was not alerted to the incident until DA councillor Terri Stander initiated a clean-up of an overgrown field where the horrific crime is alleged to have taken place.
Stander’s intent was that the field could not be used to hide criminal activity.
When we asked the police for information about the incident, details were scanty.
We subsequently followed up and spoke to the boy’s mother, who related how she was at home with her son on the day of the incident, but was ill and allowed him to play in the front garden.
The suspect apparently lured the four-year-old with sweets to go with him to the field opposite Port Alfred Primere Skool.
The boy’s mother said she was unaware anything had happened until she saw blood in her son’s underwear. When she asked him about it, he told her he had been raped.
The police were immediately called and a social worker assigned to question the four-year-old. A case of rape was then opened.
The case immediately brought to mind the rape and murder of another young boy in Station Hill more than three years ago. Rayno Ruiters was only five when he was raped, tortured and killed by three teenagers.
The case sparked widespread outrage in the community and TotT followed it until its conclusion in the Grahamstown High Court in 2010, when the three teens, aged 14, 15 and 16 at the time of the murder, were convicted and sentenced to prison terms of between seven and 14 years.
The case also received national exposure and a team from eTV’s 3rd Degree visited Port Alfred later that year.
They interviewed community leaders who all said the crime had taken them by surprise, and reverberated through the small, closely knit community.
“We share each other’s joys and sorrows,” said community leader Michael Joubert at the time.
“But we have regrouped. We decided enough is enough. Out of that we learned to be vigilant, to start at home, to engage with youth groups,” said Joubert.
“We can’t be branded by that incident,” he added.
But it is easy to sway from vigilance and not notice what might be happening to your neighbour’s children.
If the latest rape allegations are found to be true, the past will have come back to haunt Station Hill residents who said “never again”.
TotT will follow the case.