By Edwin G. Wandah
The honorable Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia, yesterday, handed down a life imprisonment sentence for a 44-year old man, Joseph Gardea, who sexually assaulted his girlfriend’ s daughter while she was away on a business trip. The accused, Joseph Gardea and Mardea, established their relationship at the time when the accused Joseph Gardea rented a place for his girlfriend Mardea and provided her some money to do business. According to the case; on several of her trips outside of their home, Joseph used the occasion to rape one of her daughters, Decontee Gardea.
Although, Decontee was not his biological daughter, but according to the case, the children used his name due to the numerous assistance he provided them at the time, paying for the home, feeding them and paying their expenses including educational benefits.
Based on that, the mother of the victim refuted complaints made by the victim concerning those sexual attempts on her by her step father Gardea. On another occasion, the victim informed her brother about the act.
According to Sarah Gardea who is the younger sister of Decontee Gardea, she explained that she vividly witnessed her step father and her older sister in the room lying under a bed sheet. According to her, she went to the room to fetch water to drink when she came across her sister bitterly weeping under the bed sheet.
Sarah further explained that the voice of her sister Decontee echoed, “Papa, you will kill me; Papa, you will kill me!” and there she stood, steering at them speechlessly. Sarah also explained that they remained under the bed sheet for a prolonged time until she ended sitting in a chair in the room.
According to Justice Ja’neh as he read the case file, the police informed that the victim started complaining of stomach pain. The victim on several occasions admitted that she was sexually assaulted by her step father who she considers as her father.
The victim was immediately taken to the Island Clinic after the Club Beer area and later transferred to the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Sinkor where she was admitted quickly in the surgical ward.
Meanwhile, according to the testimony of the victim’s sister, Sarah Gardea, their father forcibly raped her sister, Decontee Gardea. Since she was the lone witness who was on the scene, other witnesses, Opah Varney and Deborah Dorbor said the victim, prior to her demise at the John F. Kennedy Hospital admitted to her father raping her.
Meanwhile, the honorable Supreme Court granted the lower court ruling and sentenced Joseph Gardea to life imprisonment. The mother of the victim also testified that her boyfriend, Joseph Gardea, was the chief financier to the family and the business which she does.
She explained further that she was out when her daughter was raped by her boyfriend who begged to take the issue home for family settlement.