A court in Bolivia has sentenced seven members of a reclusive conservative Christian group to 25 years in prison for raping more than 100 women. The men, members of a Mennonite group, secretly sedated their victims before the sex attacks.
The victims’ lawyer said the 2000-strong Mennonite community where the rapes happened welcomed the sentence.
The group follows a strict moral code and rejects modern inventions such as cars and electricity.
An eighth man was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years for supplying the sedative used to drug the women.
The rapes happened in the Mennonite community of Manitoba, 150km north-east of the city of Santa Cruz.
The court heard that the men sprayed a substance derived from the belladonna plant normally used to anaesthetise cows through bedroom windows at night, sedating entire families.
They then raped the women and girls. The youngest victim was nine years old…
Prosecutor Freddy Perez said colony elders suspected something was wrong when they wondered why one man was getting up so late in the mornings, and they decided to shadow him.
He was then spotted jumping through a window into one of the victim’s houses.
Tough enough being part of a non-Catholic religion in most of Latin America. An often-reclusive group like these Mennonites will now have to deal with years of innuendo and rumor – even though they caught these thugs and turned them over for prosecution.
Doesn’t have to be that way. There are some really successful Mennonite communities in northern Mexico. They coexist peacefully with local Catholic families and provide full employment at many of their organic farms.