School head jailed 18 years for raping orphaned teen

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By Mary Taruvinga

HARARE: A primary school headmaster has been jailed 18 years for raping a 13-year-old orphan who lives at Makumbe Children’s Home.

Silas Chitate was convicted after a full trial during which prosecutor Venencia Mutake proved that the school head committed the offence at his house on June 22 this year.

Chitate will however, stay behind bars for an effective 15 years after Harare magistrate Nyasha Vhitorini conditionally set aside three years.

In passing his sentence, Vhitorini ruled that Chitate’s moral blameworthiness was very high considering that he violated an innocent child who looked up to him as a parent and leader.

“A lengthy custodial sentence will be appropriate in this case,” said the judge.

“It’s disappointing and shocking to imagine that a school head, as old and educated as he is, would take advantage of such a young girl who has a whole future ahead of her.

“The accused has destroyed the life of the complainant physically and socially and should get appropriate punishment.”

Prosecuting, Mutake proved that on the day in question, the complainant went for a sporting event in Marondera in the company of Chitate and other school children.

They came back during the evening and Chitate accompanied other children to their respective homes.

The complainant was the last one to be taken home and upon arrival at the orphanage’s gate they discovered it was already locked.

Chitate did not make any efforts to call security or the matron but took the teenager to his house where he made her sleep in the lounge.

Court heard he then woke up around midnight and pounced on the girl who was asleep.

He raped her once without using protection and took her back to the orphanage the following day.

Giving her testimony, the orphanage’s matron, Diana Kanyere, 59, said she noticed the girl was having difficulties in walking.

She did not question her that day but managed to notice that Chitate had done something to the girl after he came begging to take her for another sporting event.

Kanyere said she did not release the victim because she was writing exams.

She went on to question the teenager who narrated her ordeal.

The case was reported to the police leading to Chitate’s arrest.

A medical affidavit tendered in court confirmed that the girl was abused.