By Staff Reporter
A 66-year-old Somerset East man has been convicted on multiple counts of human trafficking and sexually assaulting children.
Lukas Rudman was found guilty, in the Makhanda High Court this week, on three counts of trafficking in persons, one count of consensual sexual penetration of a child under the age of 16, one count of consensual violation of a child under the age of 16, one count of inspiring in a child the belief that she would be sexually assaulted and one count of sexual assault.
According to a statement from Luxolo Tyali, the National Prosecuting Authority’s Eastern Cape regional spokesperson, Rudman targeted children aged between 13 and 17 who came from underprivileged backgrounds and enticed them into visiting his flat at Botha’s Vervoer in the district of Somerset East, by giving them gifts, money, cellphones, food, alcohol, cigarettes, and dagga, to sexually exploit them.
During the year 2021, Rudman recruited a 13-year-old girl who was walking past his home with some friends by giving her R50, alcohol and food. On one occasion, when the victim visited Rudman, he touched the child inappropriately. When she objected, he gave her some money, and she left the house with her friends. At some point, Rudman asked the girl to visit him on her own. Though reluctant, the girl visited, and Rudman performed cunnilingus on her and gave her R200 and a beer. On two other occasions, he gave her R700 to buy a cellphone.
In the same year, Rudman preyed on two siblings, aged 14 and 17, who had visited his flat. The younger child started to prepare a meal. He followed her to the kitchen and started touching her. She objected. When she refused to have sexual intercourse with him, he forbade her and her older sister from visiting his house again.
In the period between February and October 2021, another 13-year-old girl was advised by an acquaintance of Rudman that he knew someone with a lot of money, who would be her boyfriend and who would give her anything she wanted. The acquaintance convinced the girl and her cousin to accompany him to visit Rudman’s house, where she was plied with alcohol and had sexual intercourse with the old man The following morning, Rudman gave her R100, and she went to report the matter toRudman’ss acquaintance A few weeks later, Rudman invited the girl and her cousin to his flat again, enticing her with the promise of a cellphone and a pair of sandals He also bought shoes for her cousin.
Rudman was arrested on 16 October 2021 after a member of the community alerted the South African Police Service to his activities.
He gave a plea explanation at the start of the trial and pleaded not guilty.
Advocated Sharon Hendricks presented the evidence of the complainants.
Following his conviction, Rudman was detained in custody. The court refused his application to be released on bail pending address on sentence by the state and defence, which will be heard on 23 January 2024.
Eastern Cape Director of Public Prosecutions Barry Madolo, applauded the investigating team and prosecutor for ensuring that justice is served for the vulnerable in society.