A fourteen-year-old HIV positive schoolboy from Makonde District, sexually abused at least seven girls aged between four and seven years while on their way from school, raising fears that the girls could have contracted HIV. The cheeky boy would afterwards order other boys to repeat his actions on the same girls and threatened to beat them up if they refused.The boy who cannot be named because of his age and HIV status, had never been to school when he was adopted by a local non-governmental organisation and enrolled at a local primary school.
His two other siblings were also enrolled at the same school, where they are in Grade 1, after also suffering the same fate of not going to school.
The teenager was enrolled into Grade 2 together with children who were way younger than him, so that he could start at an elementary stage.
However, it later emerged that the teenager would abuse the girls who were between Early Childhood Development and Grade 3 stages, while on their way home from school.
The matter came to light during a routine Family Club meeting organised by Pamuhacha HIV and Aids Prevention Project where parenting, family health, culture and traditions are discussed.
“During the discussions, minute details of the abuse started coming out from some parents in the community before full investigations and tests on the girls were conducted,” said a Pamuhacha social worker who declined to be named for professional reasons.
“We sent the boy to school this year after realising that he had never been to school. He was enrolled in Grade 2 where he joined young boys and girls that are younger than him.”
School children are encouraged to walk in groups on their way to and from school owing to the overgrown grass in the area.
It is during routine walks from school that he allegedly took the group of girls into a bushy area and abused them before instructing other boys to follow suit.
Investigations have shown that the boy’s father and stepmother are mentally challenged and that he had at one time been taken to a relative where he was herding cattle.
The juvenile has since appeared before Chinhoyi regional magistrate Mr Felix Mawadze, who found him guilty on five counts of rape and sentenced him to three years probation at Kadoma Training Institute.
In passing sentence, the magistrate said the juvenile was a danger to the community if he was allowed to return to the farm.
The father pleaded for the child to be released into his custody, but the Court was adamant that he had demonstrated his inability to look after his children.
It has also emerged that the children have no birth certificates.
Pamuhacha economic strengthening officer Mrs Jubilee Mwanza, said the abused girls had undergone counselling sessions to cope with the abuse.
“It depends on what the children’s parents want because some of them are not forthcoming in terms of getting pycho-social support,” she said.
A probation officer said cases of children abusing other children were on the increase with some observers saying children were now more exposed to se_xually suggestive material at an early age.
Justice for Children Trust, which handles child-related issues could not be reached for comment as officials were said to have travelled yesterday.