Court dismisses sexual abuse cases against father over ‘statute of limitation’
Mesut Hasan Benli - ANKARA
A court in Ankara has sentenced a father to 12 years and three months in prison for sexually abusing his son and for inappropriate behavior against his youngest daughter, but has dismissed the alleged abuse cases related to his three elder daughters due to the “statute of limitation.”
According to the court file, the father, who had made a living as a psychic, had one son and four daughters, one of which was his step daughter. He started to abuse the children in 1996.
The two of the daughters, aged 15 and nine at the time, complained to the authorities about their father in 2002. Following an investigation, the case was dropped due to lack of evidence.
However, the father’s abusive behavior against the children continued. He threatened the daughters not to speak to anyone about the abuse, saying he would kill them, the mother and their siblings.
According to their account of the events in the court file, three of the daughters were married at an early age in order to avoid the abuse, without realizing he would continue his patterns of abuse with their brother and their youngest sister.
In 2007, a family relative saw the father having a sexually explicit conversation with a woman on social media. During the conversation, the father talked about his youngest daughter. When the relative passed this information onto the elder sisters, they filed a criminal complaint against the father.
Upon the formal complaint, the authorities reopened the case and the father was arrested.
It was revealed that the father had also abused his 11-year-old son.
Sentenced to 12 years in prison for abuse
After deliberations, the Ankara Eighth Criminal Court sentenced the father to 12 years in prison for sexual abuse of his son. He was sentenced to another three months in jail over the inappropriate language he used regarding his youngest daughter in the social media conversation.
The court ruled that the father’s remarks about the daughter on social media amounted to “a breach of obligations emanating from domestic relations.”
The court, however, dismissed the alleged abuse cases related to the other three daughters, so as not to exceed the time limit for the sentence.
In its ruling, the court said the case was closed in 2002 following a shallow investigation and the father took advantage of this and continued to abuse his children.
The court established that the father had sexually abused all the children since 1996.
One of the daughters, who filed a complained against the father in 2002, said she was nine years old at the time.
“I had to withdraw my testimony because I was under pressure. Everyone blamed me. My father threated to kill my mother. He ruined my life,” she said.
She had seen marriage as an escape from the abuse.
The daughter had spoken out after realizing her father had also abused her youngest sister. However, she started to have problems with her husband when the case emerged. As her marriage suffered, she had to return to the same home as her father.
She also said she had to quit high school because of the sexual abuse at home.
She criticized the court’s decision to dismiss the other abuse cases due to the statute of limitation.
“What about my psychology? Is there also a limit for my psychological problems? Will I ever heal?” she said.
The mother said they had to continue to live in the same house because of financial problems.
“There are so many women like me who cannot tell the truth and have to cover it up. Maybe they are right. It is such a heavy burden. You are a mother and you are all alone. You have to stand on your own feet,” the mother said.
The daughters’ lawyers said the statute of limitation for such cases is 15 years, although it should be 25 years.