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Atrocities committed against minors; WHY DOES THIS CONTINUE?

A news story from Uganda about an alleged sex scam in which a foreign national kept a ring of 34 young girls as sex slaves. I have posted the story verbatim below. Lets start a conversation on this and agitate some action.

The story goes

Some of the children recently found at the Ssese Humanitarian Services centre run by Bernhard Glaser, a German national accused of abusing them, told New Vision about their stay at the centre and the manner in which he treated them.

Although one girl said Glaser has never abused them, another one said he had done so. The two, however, accepted having family planning implants to prevent them from getting pregnant.

Below is what the two said about Bernhard Glaser, who they referred to as Bery.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL

In 2013, Bery called us in the living room and told us that we were supposed to be on family planning. He said if we refused, he would chase us out of his house. We slept on his bed and had the implants inserted by Maries Stopes doctors.

We were told that they were to stay in our bodies for eight years. It was a painful experience but he told us to keep it to ourselves and never ever tell anyone. We wanted to tell his partner (Roxane) who is in the US what we were going through, but there was no way we could get in touch with her.

Bery could not let us use his phone. He stores medicine in the house and if you are not feeling well, he treats you. If you are badly off, he calls a medic known as Frank, who comes from Kalangala Hospital, to treat you.

At times when the girls are many and the beds are few, we share a bed with him. Last holiday, he forced me to have sex with him because among all the girls, I was the only one who had never slept with him. He warned me not to tell anyone.

He said failure to listen to him; he was going to chase me away. We live in fear. His wife always comes once in a year in February. When she is around, they sleep in the same bed and no one else shares his room.

Most of us cannot count the times we have had sex with him. What I know, none of us has ever opened up to the Police or our parents because we fear to be displaced from his house. Ever since I put the implants, I have never experienced my periods. I felt like removing it when I had gone for holidays at my parents’ home, but I feared that he could chase me away.

People in Mweena have complained about him but he made sure the Police and everyone who matters is on his team. He works closely with Afande Bbaale. Bery overworks us yet he does not feed us well.

Sometimes, he beats us. After porridge as breakfast at 10:00am, we wait till 5:00pm for dinner. I have just realised that my parents’ home is better than Bery’s. When we go to school, he gives out our clothes to new children.

SECOND GIRL

Twenty-year-old student of Bridge of Hope Secondary School.

In 2006, I joined the family when I was 13. When I reached puberty, Bery advised all of us who had started menstrual periods to have contraceptive implants for fear that we could easily be impregnated by men, especially fishermen and Police officers on the island. Doctors from Marie Stopes came and sensitised us about the implants and I decided to have it.

When Bery realised that most of us were likely to have sex but confident that we would not get pregnant, he educated us about other contraceptives, brought an artificial penis and demonstrated to us how to use a condom to prevent HIV.

Most of the girls, who removed the implants, got pregnant and left us. We use his bathroom because he has no candida like most of the girls who join us. There is a girl who joined us and we all got candida through the common bathroom.

From that time, we asked him to allow us use his bathroom because it was safe. For candida treatment and for the other treatment we use the Vaginale gel and the tablets.

It is not true that we share his bed. Our chambers are next to his bedroom for easy access because at times, he faints and when he forgets to take his tablets, he gets cramps at night.

So when he calls us, we easily get up and help him. I have never been defiled.

THIRD GIRL

19-year-old Senior Six student

I am the eldest daughter of Bery and I was the first to join his house. Honestly, Bery has never slept with me. Which father rapes his daughters? Only girls who are sick sleep in his bedroom. You journalists have disorganised our future.

I have a boyfriend and Bery knows it. That is why we have all those pills and condoms in the house. If he was using us, I would have told my parents who brought me to his home. Bery is caring and loving. If you do something good, he kisses you on the forehead not on the lips.

Jean Kyomugisha, a counselling psychologist at Care Counselling Centre explained that some of the girls could be lying. “If the children are intimidated, they will not give productive information. Besides, they are children. As human beings, their values have been compromised.”

RELATED STORIES

Kalangala sex scam investigation deepens
German pensioner accused of abusing 34 girls

Comments

mrbeckbeck's picture

Original source? Your thoughts?

Hi there,
Thank you for sharing this shocking piece of news. I'm wondering two things:
1- Can you provide a link back to the original source of the story? It's always good to include that so we know the author.
2- What are your thoughts on this? Do you have questions to prompt a discussion?

Thank you...

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Manager

Hello Scott Beck,

I have put together a few links of the original story (see story below) and some new developing stories that were published by the New Vision publications, a leading daily and quite authentic paper in my country Uganda. I am yet not quite sure what to make of the whole story though am clearly disturbed by the stories.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kalangala sex scam investigation deepens

Publish Date: Dec 03, 2013
newvision

By Steven Candia and Carol Kasujja

The Police on Monday transferred Bernhard Glaser, a German national arrested in a suspected defilement scam, to Kampala as they heightened investigations into the matter.

The Police also transferred Abraham Bbale, a Police community liaison officer, who was arrested together with the German national on Sunday.

A security personnel tries to stop a New Vision journalist from taking photographs of Bernhard Glaser (left) during his transfer to Kampala.

Glaser is the founder of Ssese Humanitarian Services (SHS), a local organisation that takes care of children in Kalangala district.

The duo was transferred from Kalangala, where they had been briefly held, to the Police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) headquarters in Kampala.

“We are transferring them to SIU in Kampala for thorough investigations given that there was also talk of interference and attempts to cover up the matter,” Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba, who travelled to Kalangala and supervised the transfer, said.

The Police spokesperson said all the victims, many of them underage girls, will be subjected to medical examination to establish whether they had been sexually abused, as part of the investigations into the scam.

“A house has been secured for them to stay while in Kampala as the investigations go on. Those who are grown up will be allowed to go while for the young ones, we will trace their parents and reunite them,” Nabakooba said.

The Police suspect that up to 34 girls, who were staying at the children’s home, could have been sexually abused but yesterday only 21 were transferred to Kampala.

“The rest just used to come to the home during day,” Nabakooba said.

The suspects and the victims crossed from the Island to the mainland using a ferry MV Pearl that docked at Bukakata landing site at 3:00pm before proceeding to Kampala. Also transferred to Kampala were exhibits that included a dildo and vaginal lubricants that were reportedly seized in a Police search of the premises on Sunday.

The Police said no further arrests had been made, but they were still continuing with the hunt for the district probation officer and a private medical practitioner, who allegedly helped in inserting implants into the underage girls.

The implants were to help the girls, who allegedly slept in turns with Glaser, to guard against pregnancies.

Double victims?

The Police said they are also probing how the children ended up in the school amid talk that some of them were defilement victims reported to the Police, but later transferred to the facility.

The team of detectives was dispatched from Kampala on Saturday evening on orders of the Police boss, Gen. Kale Kayihura. They made the arrest on Sunday and cordoned off the facility now declared a scene of crime.

This was after an earlier medical examination on two of the girls aged 12 and 14 indicated they had been defiled. The Police are also exploring a host of other offences, including child trafficking.

During a recent visit by New Vision to the home, one of the girls was found sleeping in Glaser’s bed and she told New Vision that she had spent the night with him.

Although Glaser concedes spending nights with the girls in turns, he denies having sex with them on account of his advanced age which, he says, necessitates that he be taken care of by the girls. He says he only hugs them as they sleep.

Though born in Germany, Glaser, 65, a retired health consultant, on social media describes himself as a Belgian Idealist, having migrated there in his tender age. The Police suspect Glaser could be a paedophile.

The suspect says he looks after the 34 girls who had been sexually abused, at the request of their parents after they failed to pay their school fees.

Those who have sexually transmitted infections, he says, are tested and put on treatment until they cure, but some choose to remain behind. The girls say Glaser takes good care of them and they look much healthier than when they were still in their homes.

Marie Stopes speaks out

However, the Police are investigating circumstances under which the underage girls were fitted with implants,allegedly by an official from Marie Stopes, Edward Zimbe, the Marie Stopes Uganda operations director told New Vision that they have never gone to Ssese Humanitarian Services to administer contraceptives to the girls as Glaser had said.

“We do not work with any particular institution."

Some of the exhibits the Police said they seized from the scene of crime

We offer family planning services from government facilities because our role is to supplement government services,” Zimbe saidd.

“It is, however, likely that some of the girls could have got contraceptives from our health workers because it is not our work to find out where they come from. Our duty is to provide services,” he said.

Glaser a rape victim?

I came to Uganda in 2006 as a volunteer. My assignment was to teach families on islands different family planning methods. In January 2005, I discussed the issue with an NGO (Idealist.org) which was sending me to Africa in January 2006, when I was still in Zambia.

We Googled and my team leader decided that I visit Kalangala, which had a good number of school dropouts due to poverty.

When I came to Uganda, I wanted to start sensitising men, but they did not welcome my idea. I felt like going back to Zambia, but my friends advised me to stay.

After three months in Uganda, I spoke to my family, especially my wife, that the number of girls who were engaged in prostitution at the island was alarming. As a father of a daughter, I could not visualise young girls being raped.

So, I opened up my house for them. The first girl I got is Annita. She was in her Primary Seven vacation, but in Senior Six now. I am a father figure, qualified doctor who knows his ethics.

So, I have never defiled any of my daughters. I just help rape victims because I am a result of rape; my mother was raped, my wife was raped and many of our sponsors are victims of rape. Since I am cancerous and diabetic, I have no feelings for sex. I am even too old.

My bedroom is always open because I have nothing to hide

Links to the story are below;

http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/650200-kalangala-residents-were-aware-of...

http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/650125-kalangala-sex-scam-investigation-...

http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/650079-german-pensioner-accused-of-abusi...

http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/650177-kalangala-sex-scam-girls-speak-ou...

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