A 57-year-old Tanzanian woman accused of raping an 8-year-old boy and infecting him with sexually transmitted diseases was sentenced to 29 years in prison on June 9. According to the BBC, Desderia Mbwelwa’s alleged act is said to have sparked the outrage and disgust of Tanzanians.
Despite being ultimately convicted, information on the verdict wasn’t publicized extensively until recently. The 8-year-old victim was reportedly herding cattle in the village of Iringa on the day Mbwelwa sexually assaulted him.
The convicted woman is said to have asked the boy the whereabouts of his friends when she encountered him. After the minor informed her that his friends weren’t nearby, she allegedly proceeded to rape him under a tree.
In the wake of the alleged assault, the victim was examined by a doctor who determined the boy had suffered injuries and also tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases as a result of his genital area being infected.
However, Mbwelwa, in an attempt to defend herself, reportedly claimed she had relatives who depend on her, as a mother and grandmother, per BBC. Her lawyer also said he intends to file an appeal on the verdict as Mbwelwa did not undergo any test to determine if she had any sexually transmitted diseases.
“My client was not tested positive for those diseases, which both my client and her witness have confirmed they do not have because one of the witnesses is her husband,” her lawyer claimed.