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MATA‘UTU, Wallis and Futuna (December 1, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---A court in Wallis and Futuna found a 21-year-old man guilty of rape and indecent assault on six children living in his neighborhood, the Weekly newspaper Te Fenua Fo‘ou reports.

The victims (aged between 7 and 11 at the time) attended the hearing.

The crime goes back to July 1998, when the accused was found touching six children while they were sleeping on the terrace of their fale (home).

Their grandfather immediately reported the case to the police. He was congratulated by the judicial representative in Wallis for breaking the "law of silence" which too often prevails in such cases, Te Fenua Fo‘ou notes.

The accused was remanded in custody during the trial.

The court heard that he had sexual intercourse "several times a week" with at least one of the little girls and raped two of the little boys.

Psychiatrists told the court the children had been traumatized and suffered behavioral problems, fearing this could happen to them again.

Defense lawyer Louzier pleaded the unfavorable social background of the accused and asked for clemency due to the repercussions the ruling could have on the accused family.

"Yes he is a pedophile. . . He's a devious person who found this behavior as the only exit from his isolation," Louzier told the Court.

A jury of 10 found the young man, whose name was not revealed, guilty.

He was sentenced to 15 years of jail and deported to the Noumea, New Caledonia a prison of Camp-Est.

Wallis does not have a prison for serious offenders.

This bulletin was produced by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). Editor: Patrick Antoine Decloitre E-mail: padec@iname.com 

For more information, contact Nina Ratulele, PINA Administrator, at pina@is.com.fj 

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Damodar Centre, 1st Floor 46 Gordon Street Suva, Republic of the Fiji Islands Tel: (679) 303 623 Fax : (679) 303 943 Postal Address: PINA, Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji Islands Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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