Child porn ex-cop faces 40 charges

Shocking allegations have emerged of boys allegedly being plied with alcohol and drugs so a former policeman could take advantage of them.

06 May 2020 | Crime

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



Alleged paedophile, 48-year-old Johann Maree, yesterday made his first appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court following his arrest on a host of charges relating to the sexual exploitation of young boys.

He faces 40 counts, with the State indicating that more charges are still to be added.

The incidents took place between 2016 and 2020, the State alleged.

Among the charges are the rape of minor children, indecent assault, immoral practices, organised crime, trafficking minor children, employing children for commercial sexual exploitation and inducing children to engage in child pornography.

He allegedly plied some of his victims with drugs and alcohol.

It is also alleged in the charge sheet that he used sexual toys on some of them. Some of the boys are either mentally or physically challenged.

Maree was arrested over the weekend for allegedly sexually abusing boys aged between nine and 17.

He also allegedly made pornographic videos of the children, which he sold to paedophiles on the internet.



14 victims traced

The State has so far traced 14 victims and is still in the process of tracing an additional 12 boys. Maree, who is a former policeman, advertised himself as a sport and modelling photographer.

Maree is also charged with eight counts of violating the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) in that he allegedly trafficked minor children and used them for commercial sexual exploitation and child pornography.





Magistrate Ndapewa Celma Amadhila presided over his court appearance yesterday and the State was represented by Adrie Hendricks.







Swimming lessons



Maree allegedly lured the children to his house under the pretext of offering sponsored swimming lessons.



The State prosecutor yesterday opposed bail citing that the investigation was still at an early stage and there were fears that Maree may interfere with the witnesses, who are underaged and vulnerable children.



Bail was also opposed because of the seriousness of the matter and the immense public interest.







Flight risk



“The State opposes bail on grounds that the accused is a flight risk, having ties to Australia and South Africa. If found guilty, there is a likelihood of direct imprisonment and a fear that he may abscond,” Hendricks said.



The matter was postponed to 28 August and Maree was remanded in custody.



Maree yesterday told the court he had made arrangements with an attorney to represent him, but since this person failed to arrive at court for the proceedings, he will now apply for legal aid.



“I will have money for an attorney if I sell off some of my private property,” he said.







Alleged victim speaks



A 19-year-old man outside the court said that he was befriended by Maree when he was 13 and was later molested.



He told Namibian Sun's sister newspaper, Republikein, he had travelled from Swakopmund to Windhoek to be present at court.



He said during a visit to Maree he drank “a whole bottle of brandy”.



“He gave us drinks when we visited there.”



The victim's mother, who also attended the court proceedings, said she knew Maree from her youth and they visited each other after he had befriended her son.



“We heard about this for the first time on Friday when the detective contacted us. When we asked the boys, they told us what had happened. I can see they are relieved that it has become known what he is doing.”



Her friend said Maree “was very manipulative”.



“He bought very expensive phones for the boys – N$4 000 and N$5 000 phones – not like my cheap phone. He sometimes caused tension between us and the boys so they didn't want to be home,” he said.



Another parent said Maree paid for her son and several other boys' school swimming lessons.



“He went to fetch them at school in the afternoons and took them home. Later he took them to the swimming pool and I took them back to his house.”







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