Neighbour sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting minor girl

Representative image: Manorama

Kasaragod: A Kasaragod court sentenced a man to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment for sexually assaulting a minor girl, his neighbour, for four months in 2014.

The girl, then 16 years old, was an orphan from Karnataka and illegally adopted by a family in Kasaragod, said Prakash Ammannay, the public prosecutor for sex crimes against children.

Kasaragod additional sessions court (I) judge A Manoj on Wednesday found Kareem P A (33) guilty of repeatedly raping the girl. Kareem, a truck driver, was sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment under Section 376 (2) (n) of the Indian Penal Code.

The judge also found him guilty of trespassing into the girl's house (Section 450 of the IPC) and criminal intimidation [Section 506 (2)] and sentenced him to seven years and two years, respectively. "He will have to serve only 20 years as the sentences will run concurrently," said Ammannaya.

The convict was fined Rs 2.5 lakh for his crimes. "If the fine is not paid, he will have to serve another 29 months in prison," said the public prosecutor.

He said Kareem started abusing the girl in July 2014, after her adoptive father died. "The adoptive mother was not supportive even though the girl told her about the abuse," he said.

Finding no support, the girl ran away from her home. She was rescued by the Railway Police at Kannur Railway Station. She opened up to the officers and they immediately contacted the police station where the crime occured.

Police arrested Karim and later the cops investigated the case and submitted the charge sheet to the court.

"The tragedy was that even during the trial, her mother refused to cooperate with the prosecution. She supported the accused," said Ammannaya.

But the prosecution lined up 14 witnesses and produced 18 pieces of documentary evidence against the accused. "We were able to convince the court with the mother's statement," he said.

The girl is now a 24-year-old woman and is working as a security officer for a Union government agency in central Kerala.

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