- Gerhard Ackermann has been found guilty of more than 700 counts related to a child sex abuse ring he ran in Johannesburg.
- During sentencing proceedings, the state requested that Ackerman be imprisoned for life.
- The state emphasized that the community must be protected from Ackermann.
Pedophilia ring kingpin Gerhard Ackermann needs to be in prison as long as possible to ensure that no more children fall victim to the convicted rapist, pedophile and human trafficker.
Such were the sentiments of the public prosecutor, Attorney Valencia Dube, who, during the sentencing proceedings, asked Judge Ismail Mohamed to impose the maximum possible penalties.
Ackerman appeared before the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday, constantly shaking his head and making his remarks loudly as the state made arguments in toughening the sentence.
The state began with the testimony of Col. Kirsten Clark, a clinical psychologist, who diagnosed Ackerman with a pedophile disorder and explained that he was unlikely to ever be rehabilitated.
With Clarke’s evidence undisputed, Dubb then moved on to the charges Ackerman was convicted of in April.
Dubb asked the court that Ackerman be sentenced to the maximum possible term for each count, including life in prison for trafficking and rape for minor victims.
Dube told the court that there were no substantive force majeure circumstances that Ackerman could raise to deviate from the minimum life sentence set for child rape.
“Society needs to be protected from someone like Ackerman,” said Dube.
“The court must ensure that no other child is subjected to this kind of abuse and degrading actions by the accused.”
The state has also asked the court to impose the maximum penalties allowed for Ackermann’s other crimes, which include:
- forced rape
- sexual grooming of children,
- sexual exploitation of children,
- attempted murder,
- sexual assault
- possession of child pornography,
- creating child pornography,
- using the premises as a brothel,
- benefit from the services of a child victim,
- Using the buildings to house victims of human trafficking,
- transportation of victims of human trafficking,
- forced sexual assault,
- Exposing his genitals to children.
Ackermann’s legal aid attorney, Hermann Alberts, recorded Ackermann’s personal circumstances and also argued for a reduction in sentence.
However, before going into his argument, Alberts admitted that Ackerman couldn’t get a slap on the wrist.
As for personal circumstances, the court heard that Ackermann was 53 and a first-time offender.
He was allegedly raised in a stable home, and his parents remained married until his father’s death in 2019.
Ackerman has a younger sister and an older brother, both of whom live outside the country.
It was conceded that Ackerman’s mother was dependent on him – and that he acted as his mother’s “chauffeur and bodyguard” while she was out on bail, because she was afraid.
Alberts said there was no history of abuse or behavioral problems.
The court heard that Ackerman had future plans to start a brownie franchise, which would involve direct marketing and hiring people as agents to sell the brownies to stores.
Ismael Alberts asked whether there were force majeure and substantive circumstances, and also asked about the issue of remorse.
Alberts was unable to answer because Ackermann maintained that he had done nothing wrong.
Ismail said, “The defendants are fighting on the grounds that these victims exercise their free will and have chosen, and he was doing them a favor.”
“He makes himself look like he was doing some service to the community.”
However, Ismail noted that Ackermann manipulated and exploited vulnerable children from their dysfunctional homes.
In April, Ackerman was found guilty of more than 700 counts.
This was in relation to a pedophile ring he was running in Johannesburg, which operated as a massage parlor.
The court found that Ackerman had trafficked young teenage boys, sexually groomed them, and then forced them to perform sexual acts with clients in exchange for money.
One of his clients, who also actively assisted Ackerman in the ring, was Paul Kennedy, a well-known prominent lawyer and acting Supreme Court justice.
Kennedy, who was arrested alongside Ackermann, died by suicide before the trial could begin.