Former top cop abducted and raped girls, paid R50 for their silence
Judge says the former superintendent is ‘an accomplished liar’ after he denied raping nine-year-old and a teenager
A former superintendent at the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) has been convicted on three counts of rape and one of human trafficking, following a lengthy criminal trial that revealed how he had used a young female accomplice to find Soweto children to sexually assault.
Adam Cummings, the former head of the EMPD security division and his co-accused, Tebogo Johanna Maregele, were facing 14 charges including kidnapping, trafficking and rape following three alleged incidents involving two teenagers and a nine-year-old girl.
This week, Cummings and Maregele were brought before the High Court in Johannesburg, where Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng spent days detailing his analysis of the evidence against the pair as part of an exhaustive judgment.
The state claimed they kidnapped their targets in Soweto, took them to secluded areas to allow Cummings to sexually assault them and then tried to buy or threaten them into silence.
While the pair were accused of kidnapping two teenagers and a child in separate incidents, both the accused managed to dodge all the charges relating to one of them, because the teenager was unable to identify Cummings at an ID parade following the alleged crime. Because of this, Mokgoatlheng admitted that while that did not mean the rape did not occur, the state had not presented any further evidence that could prove to the court it had happened beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, regarding the other two cases, the judge was convinced the complainants’ harrowing experiences warranted a guilty verdict against both accused, though on separate charges.
In particular, he praised the testimony of the nine-year-old victim, who was 12 when she testified in 2018, saying there was no possible reason to label her an unreliable witness. “If this child is telling stories, then this child is better than Shakespeare.”
He said her testimony was “vivid, graphic and unique”, meaning it would have been highly unlikely to have been fabricated.
The judge was also quick to label Cummings “an accomplished liar” for denying what had happened to the child, and his generally weak testimony that the judge believed made little sense. According to the preteen and the state’s indictment, on February 22 2015 the girl, a young neighbourhood friend of Maregele, was kidnapped in Moroka.
After buying food for the child, the pair allegedly took her to an abandoned stretch of veld. Then nine years old, she was told she would be raped, and when she started crying the pair threatened to hurt her further before Cummings, then 49, allegedly raped her.
She said she was told that if she revealed the truth about what happened, she would be killed, with Cummings allegedly using his gun as part of the intimidation.
“Before that, I didn’t know what rape was or what was going to be done to me, that’s why I was crying,” she told the court. She repeatedly expressed how painful the experience was, and that it was Maregele – “handling her like a baby” – who assisted the rape.
After the ordeal, the young girl was taken back to her neighbourhood, with R50 in hand and some food. However, despite the bribe and threats, she told her mother what had happened, and she was later key in identifying Cummings during an identity parade later that year.
The second complainant, a 15-year-old girl, was also taken to an abandoned area where Cummings raped her on two separate occasions. While Cummings had repeatedly claimed the sex was consensual, the judge ultimately did not believe this, as the young woman had also proven to be a reliable witness in the trial, and had denied she was in a relationship with a man old enough to be her grandfather.
Cummings was convicted on three counts of rape and a charge of human trafficking for what the court deemed to be the sexual exploitation of the nine-year-old survivor.
Meanwhile, Maregele, who had refused to testify, was convicted on the rape of the nine-year-old as an accomplice, two counts of the sexual exploitation of children (for financial reward) and human trafficking.
The pair will return to court for sentencing in August, though both had their bail revoked on Tuesday afternoon following the first rape conviction.
Both are likely to face life sentences for the rape convictions.