Police have arrested another boy scouts leader for sexually abusing boys with police saying more victims are coming up to build cases against the perpetrators. Christopher Mackenzie (29), himself an alleged victim of sexual abuse by another scout leader, Norman Scott who died earlier this month in his 70s, is said to have turned into an abuser.
He is facing several counts of indecent assault and aggravated indecent assault cases against young boys. Mackenzie is said to have been one of more than 50 boys who were abused by the late Scott for a period of more than 40 years. Scott died before victims could get justice with victims decrying the slow wheels of justice as some of them had lived with the trauma for nearly 40 years as the abuse allegedly started in late 1970s.
It is alleged that Mackenzie later grew to become Scott’s protégé in sexually abusing boys where they used their positions within the Scout Association of Zimbabwe to commit the crimes. The boys’ sexual abuse is said to have gone for more than 40 years undetected until last year when one of the victims opened up on the abuse with more survivors later sharing their experiences.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed Mackenzie’s arrest. “Yes, we have a report for the late Norman Scott who you reported about and Christopher Mackenzie, the dockets are now at the Regional Court (Matabeleland South),” said Ass Comm Nyathi. He said witnesses are still coming forward and there are certain issues, which have been raised by the courts, which the police are attending to.
Ass Comm Nyathi could, however, not give the number of counts that Mackenzie is facing but said more victims were coming forward. “There are several cases and complainants are still coming. I can’t say now how many counts he is facing as more victims are coming,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said it was worrying that individuals who were trusted to protect minors became their abusers.
He said providing safety to children has to be prioritised and individuals of integrity should be the only ones entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the interests of minors. “People who look after these youngsters while conducting these activities need to be people of repute and need to be people who are trustworthy. It’s really sad when children are abused by people who are supposed to protect them,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He urged parents and guardians to be open to their children to enable them to freely discuss issues affecting their social life so that such issues are nipped in the bud.
Reflecting on Scott’s death one of his victims said Mackenzie would perpetuate Scott’s legacy of sexual abuse if justice is not served. “He was a victim of Norman Scott and later became an abuser. Norman Scott’s legacy of sexual abuse of young boys will live on through his protégé, Chris Mackenzie unless justice is served by the Zimbabwean legal system. It’s time that the circle of abuse is stopped once and for all to safeguard our children,” said one of the victims who could not be named.
“This 29-year-old is a real threat to society and needs to be stopped from sexually abusing young people”.
The victim said Scott and Mackenzie turned an organisation, which was designed to develop boys into confident citizens who are able to tackle societal challenges to a place that reduced them to hapless traumatised individuals.
The victim said Scott even infected some of his victims with sexually transmitted diseases. “Over the past few months, I have been in contact with many victims of your 40 years of sexual abuse. I have been horrified by the irreversible harm you have done to so many boys that trusted and looked up to you,” said the victim.
He said there are several that have battled mental health issues and have contemplated taking their lives to end the torment caused by Scott’s depravity. “I have been sickened to hear details of the horrific sexual acts you subjected young boys to, and these have become horrific as time went on including passing on sexually transmitted diseases to young boys.”
He said it was worrying that the boy scout association was their hunting ground where they would get easy prey. Globally the scout movement has been rocked with boy sexual abuse scandals amid claims that some of the cases are not reported to protect the organisation’s name.
The association has faced similar sexual abuse cases in countries such as United Kingdom, Australia and America
Research shows that more than 80 000 individuals are reported to have been sexually abused within the Scouts Association of America where it is also being sued for trying to keep a secret some of the abuse cases.– Chronicle