A 33-YEAR-old former primary school hostel caretaker, Conrad Teledimo (pictured), was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment as well as a further 20 years after he was found guilty of raping two boys, aged 12 and 16.
The rapes took place at the hostel of a school near Barkly West where the children were residing at the time.
The Kimberley Regional Court heard that Teledimo first raped the 16-year-old boy in February 2016 after he told the boy to come to his room. He raped the 12-year-old on March 13, 2016 after also summoning the boy to his room.
Magistrate Veliswa Sityata highlighted the fact that Teledimo had been accused of a very serious crime by the victims who had taken him into their trust.
“The victim impact report stated that the accused was the caretaker at the hostel. The children had seen him as a father figure. The pupils and families of the pupils had entrusted him with the safety of their children, who he was supposed to protect. Instead, he preyed on his innocent victims.
“He took advantage of the victims and called them one by one into his room where he raped them. He also threatened to beat them if they reported what had happened.
“The rapes had a negative impact on the victims, as both experienced negative emotional and behavioural changes. One of the victims testified that the incident still haunts him, even though it happened about a year ago. It is clear that the incident had a traumatic impact on both children,” said Sityata.
She added that the fact that the accused had pleaded guilty to the crimes could not be considered as a mitigating factor.
“According to the accused’s legal representative, the plea of guilt from the accused can be seen as a sign of remorse. The accused’s lawyer also said that the accused had lost his job due to the incident and had spent about 15 months in custody awaiting trial. These factors, however, cannot be seen as compelling circumstances for the court to deviate from imposing the prescribed minimum sentence.
“As offences differ in their gravity, so do the nature of sentences. Rape is one of the most serious crimes, where communities look to the court for protection.
“An aggravating factor in this matter is that the incidents took place within about a month of each other and the children were raped away from home, where they had been left in the custody of the accused. The lives of these children will never be the same again,” she said.
Sityata stated that there were no factors that enabled her to deviate from the prescribed sentence.
“Rape is regarded as a heinous crime by society. After taking all circumstances into consideration, I see no factors that will let the court deviate from the prescribed sentence – due to the gravity of the offence and the interests of society in the matter. The sentence imposed will also fit society as well as the offender.”
Sityata added that the sentences would run concurrently and ordered that Teledimo’s name be entered into the National Register of Sex Offenders which means that he is no longer eligible to work with children.
Teledimo was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.