A 37-year-old woman, who has been accused of raping a 14-year-old boy and sending explicit images and videos of herself to at least four other minors, has been granted bail under strict conditions.
The Pretoria woman, who cannot be named until she has pleaded to the charges, appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday for a formal bail application.
She is facing 10 charges: one count of rape, one of sexual assault, three of exposure or display of or causing exposure or display of child pornography or pornography to children, and five counts of sexual grooming.
Sexual grooming relates to a process whereby a person builds a relationship with victims so that he or she can manipulate and exploit them sexually.
According to the charge sheet, the accused sent nude pictures and videos of herself to the victims as part of the grooming process.
She has also been accused of touching the penis of a 13-year-old boy without his consent in July this year. On the same day, she allegedly had oral sex with a 14-year-old boy by putting his penis in her mouth without his consent.
The State claimed her victims were friends of her daughter as well as her friends’ children.
During arguments in the bail application, prosecutor Sanet Jacobson told the court more victims have since come forward and there was a strong case against the accused, which included evidence from conversations the accused had with the victims via social media.
Jacobson said the accused went on social media to groom the victims and even bought them airtime to chat with them. She also allegedly bought a cellphone for one of the victims.
Jacobson also read out part of a conversation between the accused and one of the victims, where the accused said she was scared of getting caught.
The 14-year-old boy told her no one would find out she had oral sex with him.
She retorted by saying she had considered taking her own life, according to the State.
The State argued if the accused was granted bail, there would be no way of keeping her away from social media and because the victims were well-groomed, there was a chance they would not come forward if she made contact with them.
Advocate Werner Jungbluth, for the accused, argued the State did not have a strong case and messages between her and one of the victims were taken out of context.
Through an affidavit that was submitted to court, the accused said she had fully co-operated with the investigating officer and handed her passport over to him, adding she was not a flight risk.
Jungbluth argued the accused had a job and three minor children who would be prejudiced by her continued incarceration. He said his client would adhere to any reasonable conditions imposed by the court.
Magistrate Frans von Reiche granted the accused bail of R7 500 and ordered that she should not contact the witnesses directly or indirectly. She would also have to report to Boschkop police station on Mondays and Fridays.
The accused may also not go to Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool, also known as Affies, as four of the alleged victims attend the school.
The case has been postponed to March 27, for further investigations.