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Judicial CP - March 2001

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Daily Nation, Nairobi, 24 March 2001

Rapist Teacher Jailed 28 Years

By Patrick Mathangani

A 50-year-old primary school teacher was yesterday sentenced to 28 years in prison for defiling seven of his underage pupils.

Fransisco Ngumi Wachira was also ordered to receive eight strokes of the cane and to serve hard labour.

It is believed to be one of the most severe sentences ever handed down for this type of offence.

Wachira, a father of five school-age children, had also infected an eight-year-old mentally handicapped girl with a venereal disease, a court was told.

He stood with his head bowed as Nyeri senior resident magistrate Margaret Rintari told him: "I do not want to be emotional, but I must say the offence calls for a deterrent sentence, considering that the lives of innocent children were shattered."

Wachira, who taught special education at Munaini Primary School in Othaya division, had denied 12 charges of defiling his mentally retarded pupils between April 1999 and October last year.

He was arrested and charged after the Nation exclusively highlighted the girls' plight after they narrated their ordeals at his hands, the court was told. One by one the same girls yesterday stood in the witness box and told the court of their suffering and of what their teacher had done to them.

Magistrate Ms Rintari said in her hour-long judgement that the girls could not have lied since they knew their teacher well.

She said the girls had been coherent in telling how Wachira had enticed them into his office separately and then sexually assaulted them.

The prosecution, led by Mr Cyrus Muriuki, had lined up 18 witnesses, but the court ruled that two alleged victims were too mentally handicapped to give evidence.

Wachira was found guilty of seven counts of defiling the girls, aged between eight and ten years, but acquitted of five similar charges for lack of evidence.

He will serve four years in prison consecutively for each count.

Passing sentence, Ms Rintari said it is sad that Wachira, who had been entrusted with taking care of the pupils turned out to be a child molester.

She dismissed pleas by the teacher that he had been framed because of a grudge he had with some of his colleagues at the school.

In mitigation, Wachira claimed through lawyer Mbau Gitahi that he had already been punished enough following his interdiction by the Teachers Service Commission last year, soon after the Nation published the story.

He pleaded for leniency, saying his aged parents depended on him for their livelihoods.

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