Sex abuser avoids jail

2009-10-09 00:00

A PRETORIA man who was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment for the indecent assaults of his landlord’s three daughters aged 6,7 and 11 in Durban was yesterday granted a reprieve.

Judges of appeal in the high court in Pietermaritzburg ordered him to undergo five years under correctional supervision.

Judge Trevor Gorven with Judge Kevin Swain concurring further imposed a five-year suspended sentence on Willem Abraham de Klerk (39) on condition he is not convicted again of rape or indecent assault.

The conditions for correctional supervision include an order that, taking account of his work, De Klerk be placed under house arrest for the five years.

The judges also ordered that he do 16 hours of community service each month. He was also ordered to attend an “orientation and drug information programme”, a sexual offenders’ programme and other programmes aimed at improving his “problem areas”, to consult people who can treat his depression and to consult a clinical psychologist.

State advocate Candy Kander termed the acts De Klerk performed on his young victims “serious, perverse, invasive and depraved”.

She said the offences were committed shortly before the New Sexual Offences Act came into force on December 16, 2007, which means De Klerk’s conduct were viewed as rape and not the lesser crime of indecent assault.

In their reserved judgment yesterday, the judges agreed that De Klerk committed “heinous crimes on vulnerable young girls who had been left in his care”. They said the crimes are abhorrent and the trial magistrate in Durban was entirely correct to emphasise how serious they were. However, they found that the magistrate had misdirected himself in that he clearly believed a “non-custodial sentence equated to a lenient sentence” and that he had not considered other deterrents besides jail.

Judge Gorven said the state had led no evidence about the psychological harm suffered by the children. It could “only be hoped that the children and their parents have been offered psychotherapy to address this and minimise it”.

He said courts recognise that the younger children are, the more vulnerable they are. “They are usually abused by those who think they can get away with it, and all too often do.”

Gorven said the appeal court gave “anxious consideration” to submissions by Kander that the case should go back to the trial magistrate for evidence about the condition of the children, but no indication was given what evidence, if any, might be available and why it was not led.

De Klerk pleaded guilty to the three counts of indecent assault and has been in jail since November 17.

A clinical psychologist, Dr Lynette Roux, testified for the defence that she had found that De Klerk was a “regressed” as opposed to “fixated” offender. The latter have a continual and impulsive attraction to children, and are likely to repeat the offence. In regressed offenders, the behaviour begins in adulthood and they are capable of feeling remorse.

She found De Klerk is an “opportunistic paedophile” who does not actively seek out his victims.

Roux said she believes that paedophiles do not respond well to prison and that this sometimes results in their turning to violence later on. While prison can serve the short-term need to protect society against De Klerk, it can also make him more of a threat to society than before.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.