By: Jerromie S. Walters
Capitol Hill, Liberia: Rape in Liberia is a felonious crime against the state that warrants up to 10 years and or life imprisonment, according to the 2005 rape Law of Liberia.
It has been almost a year since the former director of the SOS children’s village was accused of raping and impregnating a 16yr old girl who sought refuge at one of the SOS homes in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
Prior to reports of the alleged act, the 16yrs old had lived in the Children’s village and had not been reunited with her family in Monrovia. Most children in the SOS village homes are orphans and or destitute children.
It has been more than 10months after Augustine Alieu was accused. During the Ministry of Information regular press briefing on September 1, 2022, the Women and Children Protection Section (WACPS) of the Liberia National Police reported that investigation proved that Alieu did not commit the act he was accused of and that the 16yrs old lied.
Based on medical reports and examinations as well as DNA on the child that was delivered by the alleged survivor, which proved faulty, exonerated the former SOS boss of the crime of Rape.
According to WACPS Officer Susie T. Bility, LNP resolved to exonerate Augustine Allieu from the allegation due to lack of evidence. “The allegation of rape against Augustine Alieu was unfounded, as the survivor consistently maintained that the suspect sexually abused her on October 3, 2021, while on the contrary the LNP investigation established that on the date provided by the survivor, suspect Augustine Allieu departed Liberia via the Robert International Airport on October 3, 2021, and arrived at the Jomo Kenyana International Airport in Kenya on the same day as indicated in his ECOWAS passport. Also the survivor was already pregnant at the given period the case was reported, and subsequently gave birth on July 20, 2022. The DNA results obtained from the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital through the Justice Ministry, established that Augustine Alieu is not the father of the child with a probability of 0.00 percent”, the findings noted.
However, the survivor had maintained through out police investigation that suspect Alieu sexually abused her at A ‘La Lagune Hotel on October 3, 2021, a claim Police investigation finds untrue.
Following the occurrence of the incident, Augustine Alieu in several interviews described the allegation as one that is being influenced by some staffs of the Children Village, who noticed his critical stance against the survivor interest in returning to the compound, after she previously appealed to leave for some reason.
Alieu also claimed that the allegation of rape came as a threat to his involvement in regional activities, and that prior to being appointed at the SOS Children’s Villages Liberia in July 2017, he served as Head of Programme Strategy at Plan International, West and Central Africa Region, Country Director at Plan International Sierra Leone, and Country Director at Plan International Liberia in succession.
Established in 1949 in Tyrol, Austria, by Austrian philanthropist Hermann Gmeiner, SOS Children’s Villages is the world’s largest non-governmental organization focused on supporting children without parental care and families at risk. Today, SOS Children’s Villages, medical services and educational facilities are in 135 countries and territories worldwide, including Liberia.
SOS Children’s Villages Liberia, a member of the SOS Children‘s Villages International Federation, began operations on January 1, 1981, following an agreement between the Government of Liberia and SOS Children’s Villages International. The first Children’s Village was opened in Monrovia, Montserrado County, followed by the second Children’s Village in Juah Town, Grand Bassa County.
The organization has programs that support children up to their transition into adulthood, through education, healthcare and a family strengthening program.