Disabled child gets pregnant after state neglects protection

Disabled child gets pregnant after state neglects protection

İsmail Saymaz – EDİRNE
Disabled child gets pregnant after state neglects protection A 14-year-old disabled child who is speech and hearing impaires was repeatedly raped and became pregnant after local authorities determined she was sexually assaulted by more than one person but neglected to provide state protection. Four years after repeated assaults targeting the young girl, a local court has found 10 suspects guilty of sexual assault however the sentence of the main suspect was decreased to 14 years due to “good conduct.”

Five suspects were detained on April 2, 2012, for sexually assaulting a child near an abandoned Turkish bath in the northwestern province of Edirne.

A forensic report following the attack determined that the mental health of the child, who also suffered from mental deficiencies, had been disturbed by the sexual assaults.

Despite this information, the public prosecutor’s office did not request state protection for the child and the juvenile branch did not make additional demands. Moreover, a retired judge residing in the province, Nilgün Kurtoğlu, wrote a letter to then-Family Minister Fatma Şahin in May 2012, asking the ministry to grant protection to the girl but to no avail. 

Around five months after the incident was brought to the attention of state authorities, the 14-year-old was taken to a local hospital with complaints of nausea. An examination revealed the girl was 3.5 months pregnant as a result of a rape that took place during the period when she could have been under state protection. 

In her testimony, the child alleged she was sexually assaulted multiple times by a number of men, including her own brother. She also claimed her parents knew of the assaults but ignored the situation.

A total of 11 people, including the child’s brother, were arrested after the second incident, while the girl’s parents were detained for pandering to children. The girl was brought under state protection and received an abortion following her parent’s decision.

The Second Heavy Penal Court of Edirne finally reached a verdict on Feb. 22, almost four years later, and found a suspect identified as N.A. guilty of sexually assaulting a child. N.A. was sentenced to 17 years of imprisonment, which was later reduced to 14 years and two months due to “good conduct.”

A total of 9 other suspects were sentenced to 12 years and 6 months of imprisonment, while 9 others, including the child’s brother and parents, were acquitted. 

The court failed to reach a conclusion on which suspect impregnated the child.