Barely two months had police in Nakapiripirit arrested a 60- year-old man on accusations of defiling a 12-year-old girl he had been entrusted with by the parents, than a city pastor was arrested for turning seven girls under his care into sex objects.
In the Nakapiripirit case, Magalene, 12, was defiled by her guardian, Sachana Lochune, whom she had lived with since she was seven years old. Lochune started living with girl after convincing her parents that he had got education sponsors.
Lomongin’s mother, Thereza Nangiro, says Lochune claimed that the sponsors could only give the offer with the girl under his care adding that he would register the girl as his biological daughter.
“I accepted because I had known him for more than 15 years. He was a family friend and we accorded him respect. I did not see any problem with my girl living in his house,” Nangiro says.
Events took a different turn in August when neighbours’ became suspicious of Lochune’s conduct towards the girl. A neighbour visited his home and found the girl coming out of his bedroom looking nervous. The neighbour shared what he had seen to other neighbours who invaded Lochune’s home in the night and he was busted.
“They found the old man getting intimate with my young girl. They called me and I went with a panga. Infuriated, I wanted to chop him into pieces. He survived because the neighbours blocked me,” Nangiro recalls.
Lochune was taken to police and the girl, subjected to a medical examination that proved she had been sexually molested several times. Lomongin told police that the suspect had been using her as a wife since 2016.
Similarly, Pastor Ronald Reagan Katende, of Silome Pool Ministries, in Wakasanke, Lugala on Masanafu Road in Rubaga Division, Kampala was late last year arrested on accusation of defiling seven out of 13 girls in his custody.
His arrest came after Maureen Kalule dragged him to Old Kampala Police for defiling and impregnating her 15-year-old daughter. Trouble started when Kalule visited her daughter but the girl was hesitant to meet the mother. She pleaded with her girl to come out of the house in vain.
“My daughter refused to get out of the house. I got angry and I barged in. I was surprised to see my girl pregnant. I looked for the pastor to give me an explanation but he had fled the home,” Kalule adds.
Enraged, she rushed to police and filed a case against the pastor. Police launched a hunt for the cleric who was arrested three days later in in Nansana. Police interrogated the 13 girls under Katende’s custody, seven out of the 13 girls (aged 11 and 15) admitted that their guardian had slept with them more than once.
Why the mishap
Kalule explains that the suspect approached her and other parents claiming he had started up an organisation taking care of underprivileged girls. Since he was known as a born again cleric, the parents could not hesitate. “We never thought he could turn our girls into his wives. We trusted him but he deceived us. He is a devil,” Kalule says.
First do background check
Basing on such incidents, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire, warns parents against trusting their children with guardians. He says parents need to study the conduct of persons they entrust with their children thoroughly. “Being a relative or a church leader does not mean his or her conduct is good. Make sure you know the person’s past records. Consult friends or people close to that person. A person may pretend to be good but people around you will always know your negative side,” Owoyesigyire warns.
Marital status matters
Dorothy Kebirungi, a psychologist at Infectious Disease Institute (IDI), says parents should never entrust their children especially girls to lone men. You should not risk your girl to stay with unmarried men.
“A married man has a sense of parenthood. He has someone to watch him over. An unmarried man could be careless. Besides, their minds can easily change especially when a sex urge arises and he has no woman to turn to,” she cautions.
Possible causes of ill behaviour
Kebirungi says several things trigger men to act weirdly around young children. These include their past experience such as growing up in a war torn society where women and girls were being raped or if he has ever witnessed his relative being sexually assaulted. “If a man once witnessed his wife, sister or mother being raped, he will always want to revenge on others. Besides, some men rape because of drug abuse whereas other have high libido,” she adds.
Kebirungi says parents should try hard to live with their children. But if a situation compels you to entrust your child with a guardian or relative you must know their character.
This is not unique to girls, because some young boys have been abused but they rarely come out to report.
Once you have a strong bond with your child, they freely associate with you and speak to you about anything. Had Nangiro and Kalule not been close to their children, it would have turned out different. Remember, people have different intentions.
DID YOU KNOW?
Police statistics on rape and defilement released in March 2017, show an increase in sexual assault crimes. For examples defilement cases rose from 14,973 in 2010 to 17,567 in 2016 whereas rape cases shot up from 898 in 2010 to 1,572 in 2016.