COURTS

Father of rape victim, 12, accused of defaming alleged attackers

Teachers accuse family of defamation after girl says they attacked her

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 August, 2013, 4:38pm

The family of a 12-year-old rape victim - who gave birth to a baby girl three months ago - is facing a defamation trial, in a bizarre twist to a case that has shocked the nation.

Two teachers, Tang Qigao, 38, and Tang Yantie , 58, of Central Meixi Township Primary School in Qiyang county, Hunan province, have taken the victim's father, Li Chunsheng, to court.

Li and his daughter are accused of damaging the reputation of the plaintiffs after the girl named them as two of the three teachers who raped her on multiple occasions starting in June last year.

Local media reports last month said the girl named the two teachers and said they and another "chubby" teacher had raped her more than 10 times.

But the plaintiffs said the accusation was untrue, as the girl was not at school during the summer holiday period, according to court documents.

Tang Dongyun, 74, a cousin of the girl's grandmother who lives in a neighbouring village, was identified by the girl as the fourth man who raped her last September. Tang was jailed for 12 years in April after DNA samples by public security officials "linked" him to the girl.

However, Li said Tang was used as a scapegoat to cover up what the teachers did, citing the old man's infertility.

In the DNA report that was given to Li by public security officials, the only samples taken were from his daughter, Tang Dongyun and one other teacher, who was not a suspect.

"My daughter held no grudge against these three teachers, so why would she randomly point them out if they didn't harm her?" Li said.

"I am determined to petition the central government if I have to. We must get to the truth even if we have to pay with our lives."

The hearing was initially set for Monday, but was deferred to August 13, according to legal documents.

The girl's family, who have an annual income of 5,000 yuan (HK$6,300), had been struggling to afford a lawyer. "We have already borrowed 50,000 yuan from friends and relatives to pay for earlier lawsuits, the delivery of the child and living expenses for the newborn," Li said. "We were served a summons two months ago, but I still can't find a lawyer."

A 55-year-old Qidong county official, who asked not to be named but is helping the family seek justice, said they met when the family had gone into hiding. "The girl had to give birth outside Qiyang because they were being hunted down to have an abortion to destroy the evidence," he said. "We found the DNA report questionable as the three teacher suspects had not undergone DNA tests."

The girl gave birth via Caesarean section on May 7 to a baby girl who weighed 3kg, right after turning 12 herself.

"The girl was found to be of normal IQ by a psychiatrist from Beijing, but her memory was not 100 per cent intact when recalling the traumatic incidents," the official said.

"Local police thought she was mentally challenged, so they put aside the statement she gave. They even asked why she couldn't provide her underwear as evidence after she was raped."

The rape was not known to Li and his wife until January this year, when they thought their daughter had developed a tumour in her belly. They took her for a medical examination at the county hospital, and learned she was five months pregnant.

"My daughter wants to return to school one day, but this will not happen in Qiyang," Li said.

Deng Shulin , a lawyer based in Zhuhai , said the Li family were in a tough situation.

"No Hunan lawyer will take their case because it's too sensitive and control is tight, but the family can't afford a lawyer outside the province," Deng said.

 

 

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