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American volunteer recounts sex attack

Nat Molomo


MASERU  — An American Peace Corps volunteer has recounted how one of the two men she says waylaid her near Pioneer Shopping Centre allegedly shoved his manhood into her mouth.

The complainant, a volunteer in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, on Wednesday told the Maseru Magistrate’s Court that Ts’epo Letsipa, 26, had also inserted his finger into her private part at the same time.

Her name and age have been withheld from this report to protect her privacy.

The alleged sexual assault happened on March 20 at around 5.45pm, according to the complainant.

Letsipa, of Ha-Abia in Maseru, has however pleaded not guilty to two counts of contravening the Sexual Offences Act.

He is also facing a charge of robbing the complainant of a mobile phone and M80 in cash.

Letsipa’s alleged accomplice is still at large.

The complainant said she was on her way from the Pioneer Shopping Centre to the office of the American Peace Corps, a five-minute walk, before dusk when two men coming from the opposite direction bushwhacked her.

“As soon as they went past me, I felt that one of them had put his arm around my neck,” the complainant testified.

“It was not dark and there was still daylight.

“I could not see the face of the one who grabbed me by the neck but could see the face of the one who was with him.”

The two men then pulled the complainant into a nearby bush where they demanded cash from her, she said.

“The one in front of me started saying: ‘Where is the money?’  He put his hand in my bra and took my wallet and cellphone,” she said.

The complainant identified Letsipa as the man who had allegedly grabbed her money and mobile phone before sexually assaulting her.

Letsipa, a tall and slim man, sat impassively in court as the complainant gave evidence.

“The accused . . . inserted his finger in my v****a and the one behind was still holding me from the back and I saw the face of man who was in front of me,” the complainant testified.

She said she could not identify the Letsipa’s alleged accomplice because she had not seen his face.

The complainant said after the man who was strangling her had pushed her down, Letsipa allegedly unzipped his pants and told her to “put this in your mouth or I will kill you”.

“And so I put it in my mouth,” she told the court.

“The one who was staring at me is the accused before court.

“It is the accused that inserted his p***s in my mouth and put his finger in my v****a.”

She said after a five-minute ordeal the two men fled the scene and ran in the direction of the mall.

After that she said she proceeded to the American Peace Corps office where she reported the incident to security guards who then informed the director of the volunteer programme.

A police report was later made.

The complainant, who stays in Teyateyaneng, 40km north of the capital Maseru, arrived in Lesotho in June 2008.

The case, which is before magistrate ‘Makopano Taole, continues.

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