While her peers sat in class absorbed in their lessons without a care in the world, a 13-year-old Tonota girl lay on her back in a hospital bed at Nyangabgwe, giving birth to her step-dad’s baby.
It is believed the little girl, a Standard Four pupil, was raped by her mother’s boyfriend earlier this year.
The 28-year-old suspect, who cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity, was initially arrested back in May when a concerned relative reported the matter to the cops after noticing the child’s bulging belly.
With the police investigations ongoing, the Gabaratane ward man was released, returning to Mandunyane village, where his 32-year-old lover had turned her back on her pregnant daughter, leaving home to live with him.
The pair were arrested last week when social workers realised the mother had forsaken her child, who, along with her nine-year-old sister, were left in the care of their aunt.
Confirming the sorry development, Tonota Station Commander, Oteng Ngada, told The Voice they became aware of the case four months ago, when a worried relation tipped them off.
“The reporter stated that she had visited the family where she noticed the girl’s body had changed. When she asked why the child’s tummy was so big, the victim’s mother said she was reacting to a Covid-19 jab,” revealed Ngada.
“The relative added that she then interrogated the girl, who told her that her mother had left her with the boyfriend, who then dragged her to their bed and raped her,” continued the Superintendent.
The duo appeared before Francistown Magistrates on Monday, where the woman was charged with three offences: ill-treatment of children, failure to report sexual abuse and denying a child access to health facilities.
The stepfather, meanwhile, was hit with a rape charge.
Requesting to be set free immediately, he told court his detainment was highly inconvenient as he had left his belongings unattended.
“I was arrested when my things were all over the place. I plead that I be granted bail, so I go and put them safely,” he begged unsuccessfully.
The star-crossed lovers were both told they would be going to jail on remand until their next court appearance, set for 16th September.
Meanwhile, the teenager, who went into labour a month prematurely and gave birth on 26th August, remains in hospital with her baby boy.
Both are said to be recovering well.