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42-year old man in court for statutory rape

Police in Maryland County have charged and sent to court a 42 – year old man identified as Joseph Howe for allegedly raping a girl-4 in Pleebo, Sodoken Statutory District.

The victim’s grandmother Ms. Hannah Stephen told police that late on Sunday evening, 7 May, her granddaughter and friends were playing on the porch when the alleged perpetrator called her in his living room.

Ms. Stephen claims that suspect Howe undressed her granddaughter in his living room, set her on his lap and started having sexual intercourse with the mionr. Our correspondent says medical report claimed that the minor was tempered with.

The suspect is alleged to have been spotted in the process by the victim’s aunt and one of her friends. Complainant Stephen says the incident was immediately alarmed to her, following which she contacted the police in the county to launch an investigation into the situation.

Suspect Howe was subsequently picked up by police the next day following the alleged commission of the crime. Meanwhile, a source closed to the police has hinted the NewDawn in Harper that the alleged perpetrator refused to comment during police preliminary investigation.

He is said to have withheld comment as a result of a consultation he had with his defense counsel who allegedly told him to remain silent until he appears in open court. But he has been charged with statutory rape and has been forwarded to the Harper Magisterial court for trial. The suspect remains at the prison facilities in Harper while awaiting trial.

Family members who spoke to this paper at the LNP headquarters recently in Harper have joined the survivor’s grandmother in calling on government and other human rights organizations and civil society organizations to probe into the situation to see that justice is dispensed.

The Independent Human Rights Monitor of Maryland County S. Boniface Nyema has expressed dismay over the act, but assured the family that his office will do all that is humanly possible to work with the court to ensure justice is dispensed.A family source says the minor is undergoing medical treatment, adding that she is gradually responding. The source says recovery will happen gradually.
By George K. Momo/ Maryland-Editing by Winston W. Parley

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