A sadistic pensioner who raped a girl, 12, before aborting her baby with a coat hanger during a decade-long campaign of physical and sexual abuse has been caged.
While Hodges was found guilty following a trial of 20 child sex offences, including rape and using an instrument to procure abortion, he pleaded guilty to four counts.
The court heard Hodges, 71-years-old, from Barry, Wales, began abusing his victim when she was just five years old, continuing until she reached the age of 14.
The defendant subjected her to horrific sexual abuse, some of which he filmed, and used beatings and scaldings to exert his power and control over her.
He also carried out an abortion on his victim when she fell pregnant with his child at the age of just 12.
The court heard the incident, during which another man is said to have held her down, left the victim with traumatic and disturbing visions.
As a result of the abuse the victim dropped out of education, began self-harming, and attempted to take her own life on a number of occasions.
In a statement to the court the woman said she had been robbed of a “warm and happy childhood” as a result of Hodges’ abuse and had “missed out on the smaller things”.
Amal* was three years old when she was sexually assaulted by her neighbour. During the assault, she suffered injuries that required three reconstructive surgeries. During the trial, Amal could easily identify her assailant, but despite her testimony, the trial court acquitted the accused on the basis that Amal was not a competent witness.
Not one to lose hope, Munira*, Amal’s mother and an extraordinarily strong woman, approached us at iProbono, through HAQ Centre for Child Rights. iProbono is a non-profit network that works to provide pro bono quality legal assistance to civil society and especially to disadvantaged individuals.
We worked with lawyers from our pro bono community to file an appeal in the Delhi High Court against the trial court order. Within two months, the High Court set aside the original order and sentenced Amal’s assailant to life imprisonment.
As a result, today Munira is hopeful of a happy future for her daughter. However, Amal is just one child – a small drop in the ocean.
According to a survey conducted by World Vision India, one in two (or 50%) children face sexual abuse before they turn 18.
There are very good reasons to believe that this is a significant underestimate. I suspect the real number is more than 70%.
Through the timely intervention of committed lawyers, the gross injustice meted out to Amal was remedied. But there are still millions of children who face sexual abuse in India without any access to justice.
iPorbonoFollowing Amal’s case, iProbono formed a panel of senior lawyers from the Delhi High Court to represent child survivors of sexual abuse from disadvantaged communities.
In the last two years, this panel has been able to help 28 other children like Amal access justice through quality legal representation, without having to worry about paying a hefty fee to their lawyers. Earlier this year, we reconstituted the panel to reach more survivors of child sexual abuse across India and double that number to 56 over the next two years.
In some cases – like Amal’s – our work also helps put the offenders behind bars, creating a safer India for many more children.
We realise that in a country like India, understanding and accessing the legal and judicial systems is not always easy. Therefore, through Youth Ki Awaaz, we hope to share regular content that raises awareness around legislation, case law and constitutional provisions available to Indian citizens in different situations. In between, we also hope to share more stories like Amal’s to highlight how Indians from vulnerable sections of society have as much right as anyone else to access the legal system and justice.
You can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or E-mail and support our work here.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
A paedophile ex-vicar caught downloading indecent images had a shoebox full of children’s clothing stashed in his home.
He was already serving a suspended sentence after his family found sick files including a horrifying movie of a girl being bound and raped by her dad.
Liverpool Crown Court today heard the 68-year-old downloaded a further 1,730 indecent images between November 17, 2014 and January 24, 2017.
Chris Taylor, prosecuting, said he had requested a police report after learning officers also found a shoebox containing children’s clothes in his flat.
Battersby, of Old Hall Street, Liverpool city centre, who served in the ministry for 31 years, admitted possessing the child sex abuse pictures.
He admitted downloading 121 Category A - the most serious category - plus 132 Category B and 1,474 Category C photographs.
The former Church of England national youth officer also admitted possessing 183 prohibited images of children, plus extreme animal porn.
Peter Turner, defending, requested a pre-sentence report and a psychiatric report for his client.
Judge David Aubrey, QC, adjourned sentencing until August 25 and remanded Battersby on bail.
The paedophile is subject to a notification order requiring him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register until 2020.
Battersby was first caught with indecent images while working as a vicar in April 2007. He was turned in by his wife after his 17-year-old stepson spotted pornographic images and videos on the family computer.
Battersby, who was then vicar of St Ambrose Church in Leyland, was spared prison at Preston Crown Court in March 2008. He was handed a 34-week suspended sentence, 200 hours of unpaid work and told to attend a sex offenders’ programme.
Battersby, who taught chemistry in Liverpool before training for the church, then moved into his sister’s home in Bebington, Wirral. But in April that year Battersby bought a laptop and within months was using it to access obscene images.
He was caught after police became suspicious when they discovered he was using the name ‘Tanker’ on the internet, breaking the terms of the Sex Offenders Register. They raided the home in College Drive in February 2009 and discovered the photographs, which he admitted downloading.
Mr Turner, defending, said Battersby only got the laptop after being commissioned to organise a missionary work conference. He said: “He is a man who prior to 2007 led what appeared to be a generally blameless and very useful life as a pastor and a teacher. “But it is certainly right to say he has had this interest for about five years maximum.”
Mr Turner said Battersby, formerly of Bridge Street, Birkenhead, had health problems and risked his life for Amnesty International.
Jailing him in 2010, Judge Aubrey said: “Being a highly intelligent and highly articulate man you should well recognise that each image that you have observed for your own sexual gratification represents the abuse of a child. “By doing that which you did you have perpetuated such abuse of such young children.
“You have given your life to God and for 31 years of your life you have been in the ministry and seeking to assist those in need. “But I regret to say that there is another side to you – one which you know – and that side is an unhealthy interest in children.”
Mumbai: Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar on Thursday narrated an incident from his own life to highlight the risk children face in day-to-day life, and the importance of communication to identify sexual predators.
He was speaking at an international conference on human trafficking here.
"Let me share my own experience with you all here. When I was a very young kid, a lift-man once touched me inappropriately.
"Since I had good communication with my parents, I told them about this incident," he said.
Later the same person was caught in another case and was found to be a habitual offender, the actor said.
Parents and children must have a free interaction so that such offenders are identified immediately, Kumar said.