MONROVIA – FrontPageAfrica has gathered that the Liberia National Police is investigating Mr. Augustine A. Alieu, the National Director of SOS Children Village in Liberia, for alleged rape.
He was accused of rape by a 16-year-old girl who used to be in the SOS safe home in Buchanan until last year when she was reunited with her biological parents.
Prior to the alleged rape, Mr. Alieu, according to information gathered by FrontPageAfrica, was suspended by SOS and was under investigation for allegations of fraud at the SOS.
FrontPageAfrica could not get comments from SOS Children’s Village. However, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection says it welcomes the ongoing investigation.
According to the Ministry of Gender, the survivor has been taken to a ‘One Stop Center’ for medical check-up and treatment and is undergoing psychosocial counseling by the Ministry’s Social Workers.
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection stated that it finds the alleged act by the institution’s Director disturbing, disgusting, distressing and a distasteful act that must be condemned by all.
“This unacceptable act allegedly committed by Augustine further undermines the fight against rape and a setback to the country in achieving goal 5 (Gender Equality) of the sustainable development goals which highlights the urgent need to end violence and exploitation of women and girls,” the Ministry stated.
The Ministry added, “What is even more appalling is the fact that the alleged perpetrator heads an Institution whose primary focus is the protection of children from all forms of violence including rape. This alleged act also undermines sexual and gender-based violence survivors and or vulnerable children’s confidence in safe homes that are set aside to protect them.”
According to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, it has gathered that the 16 years old survivor was a resident at the SOS Children’s Villages, a safe home for underprivileged children and orphans in Montserrado County.
“Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry stresses that it will in collaboration with the Anti-SGVB Presidential Task Force inclusive of the Liberia National Police aggressively root out would-be pedophiles and or rapists regardless of social status.”
“As an institution responsible for the protection of women, girls, children, and vulnerable people – we will firmly remain engaged until justice is impartially served.”
The Accused Account
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica, Mr. Alieu lamented that the Ministry of Gender is being dishonest and did not state the facts in its press statement.
He said, the alleged rape incident occurred in October 2021 and came to his attention after he received a call from the SOS Children’s Village Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal after a whistleblower had called there to report the alleged rape of the 16-year-old.
The alleged rape occurred at the Buchanan SOS Children’s Village.
“The regional office also instructed the SOS office in Liberia to report the matter to the external authorities and follow it up until the investigation is concluded. My team and I then contacted the SOS lawyer who drafted the letter of complaint, which was sent to the Women and Children Protection Section (WACPS) of the Liberia National Police. Copies of the complaint letter were also sent to the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Deputy Minister, and the Director of the Social Protection Division at the ministry,” he stated.
According to him, the WACPS commenced the investigation and during the investigation, the survivor informed the investigators the first person mentioned by the whistleblower was not the one that sexually abused her. Rather, it was another staff in the Buchanan office that sexually abused her instead. So, the investigation focused on the second person.
He said, on April 9, 2022, the survivor was moved from her Congo Town home to the SOS Guest House and was placed under tight security.
“That was also the first time that I learned that the victim was pregnant. I also learned for the first time a few days after that the victim has once again changed her mind and stated that it is the National Director that sexually abused her instead. While the investigation was going on for the first two persons that the victim had mentioned sexually abused her, I was also called by the WACPS at the LNP for questioning,” Mr. Alieu stated.
He said, contrary to the report that he was on the run, he voluntarily appeared at the WACPS on Wednesday.