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Mother, stepfather of 4 sexually abused girls charged with negligence

Fathmath Shaahunaz
25 July 2018, MVT 13:19
A little girl poses for photographs to illustrate the topic of child abuse in Canberra, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Fathmath Shaahunaz
25 July 2018, MVT 13:19

Prosecutor General's Office has forwarded charges against the mother and stepfather of four sisters hailing from Gaafu Dhaal Atoll, who were reportedly sexually abused by a 75-year-old man in their island.

The mother and stepfather are being charged with parental negligence as the four girls were all minors during the period of abuse. They are also being indicted for knowingly covering up sexual abuse of children.

Their mother faces additional charges for being an accessory to the crime, and adultery.

The PG Office has forwarded the charges to Thinadhoo Magistrate Court, which is overseeing the trial.

The 75-year-old man who is accused of sexually molesting the four sisters, is further said to be guilty of adultery and having a regular affair with a married woman.

The eldest sister, currently aged 26, had told local newspaper Mihaaru that the elderly man began molesting her when she was only 14, and had on numerous times assaulted her and her sisters over the past 12 years. She had reported the case to the police and brought it to the media's attention, after she fled to capital Male following alleged years of abuse.

In her interview to Mihaaru, she also said that she had told her mother of the abuse, but that her mother had urged her to not speak of it. When Mihaaru later reached out to the mother for comment, she confirmed the claim.

"[The 75-year-old man] greatly threatened me, blackmailing me with bodily harm if I ever revealed what was happening. He warned me never to speak of it," she had said.

"I do accept [that I'd been negligent]. I have to! [But] that was something he'd made me do with threats."

The elderly man had been previously arrested in connection to the case, but was later shifted to house arrest. While the PG Office had levied charges against him last June, the trial is still pending. Reportedly, after he was released from custody, the man continued to work in the shop he owned in the island.

Police had also arrested a Bangladeshi national, who was employed as a cashier at the shop, over sexually abusing the youngest of the sisters.

The elderly man was supposedly a respected businessman in the island. According to the eldest sister, there were more children in the island that he had molested.

The man had built the house that the girls and their mother were living in, and helped them out financially, which made them reluctant to speak out against the abuse earlier.

"He had forbidden us from leaving the house. Since he was the one who bought our [school textbooks] for us, he would sometimes hide them and stop us from going to school or tuition. Our mother did everything on his orders," the eldest sibling had said.