Police Finally Exonerates Augustine Allieu In SOS Rape Allegation
Following months of painstaking investigation by the Women and Children Protection Section of the Liberia National Police into allegations of rape at the SOS Children’s Villages in Liberia, two of the accused have been exonerated while a third was arrested and awaiting trial for statutory rape.
The case in question involved the organization’s former country director Mr. Augustine Allieu, and two other staffs of the organization’s Grand Bassa County program.
The investigation which culminated in the performance of a paternity test on the baby of the girl, and the three accused led to the exoneration of Mr. Allieu and one of the other two accused. The third accused was arrested and charged with first degree rape for engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor.
In April this year Mr. Allieu was accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a minor in the care of the SOS Children Village’s in Liberia even though it was Mr. Allieu who had previously reported the case in November 2021 to the LNP under instructions from the organization’s regional office in Dakar, Senegal.
From the onset of the investigations all the accused were asked to report to the LNP’s Women and Children Protection Section at various times. They were all required to make statements and respond to questions from the investigators and were released to their lawyers since no probable cause was established to hold them in custody and charge any or all of them.
Mr. Augustine Allieu, in addition to cooperating with the investigation also voluntarily turned over his passport to the police as further assurance that he would not leave Liberia contrary to allegations from certain circles that he was in the process of absconding the country.
Nearly three months after the investigation started against, Mr. Allieu his lawyers repeatedly asked the LNP whether the girl’s claim that Mr. Allieu had sex with her on October 3, 2021 was constant and had not changed. The LNP said that she was consistently with the October 3 date and not changing it.
With the certainty of the alleged victim’s claim of sexual interaction with Mr. Allieu on October 3, 2021, Mr. Allieu’s lawyers presented evidence in his boarding passes for an early morning flight out of Liberia on the same date. They also provided his hotel receipt at the Royal Ambassador Hotel in Unification Town in Margibi County for the night of October 2, 2021.
Since the investigation could not fully establish sexual contact between the victim and those she accused, the Minister of Justice instructed that since the girl was pregnant a paternity test should be done on her baby and the three accused when she delivered.
After the child gave birth in late July 2022, the accused were ordered to appear at the JFK Medical Center for sample collection for the DNA test on August 9, 2022. All three accused visited the pathology department of the JFK on the appointed day after the child and her baby earlier went in for the purpose of sample collection. Buccal swab samples were collected from each of them by Dr. Benedict B. Kolee, Chief Pathologist of the Republic of Liberia who also ran the test himself.
The test results for all three accused were sent to the Minister of Justice on Wednesday, August 10, 2022. The results showed that one of the accused was the father of the child’s baby. Based on that result, Mr. Wayne McIntosh was arrested by officers of the Liberia National Police on Thursday, August 11, 2022.
Mr. McIntosh has been charged with the crime of first-degree rape for engaging in sexual intercourse with a person below the age of 18 years and has been remanded at the Monrovia Central Prison where he awaits trial.
Considering that the police investigation and the DNA test could establish no sexual link between the girl and the other two accused, all investigations regarding Mr. Augustine Allieu and Mr. William Jaliebah in this matter have ceased.
Speaking at the Ministry of Information press briefing on Thursday, September 1, 2022, Assistant Commissioner of Police Sussie Telleh-Bility announced that the allegation of sexual misconduct against Mr. Augustine Allieu and Mr. William Jaliebah was unfounded and recommended their exoneration of accusations of rape.
Meanwhile, the unfounded rape allegation against such a member of the expat community in Liberia raises concerns of what could be the actual motive behind the girl’s story and on how she arrived at such damaging claim against a person who has served the INGO community in and out of Liberia at Catholic Relief Service, and various capacities in PLAN International.
Other observers used the case to point out yet another exoneration of a senior expatriate and how rape allegation is being weaponized and used by people to target their perceived enemies, thus undermining the fight against rape. The SOS rape allegation against Mr. Allieu reminds Liberians about David Waines, the Canadian national who was Equip-Liberia’s Country Director. Mr. Waine was falsely accused of rape in 2013 and held in prison for months before he was freed.