Every day we hear of more sexual abuse cases in India and now even Goa. It’s not clear as to where exactly the perpetrators of such crimes are from but a lot of them seem to land in the state. Some cases even involve locals. All that being said, it is extremely heartbreaking to hear such stories on the news. Therefore, we in Goa are also shocked when such things happen abroad and involve our own people. Six months ago, a Goan living in the UK was arrested, recently put on trial and has now been convicted by a UK court for attempting to sexually groom two underage girls.
What does it mean to sexually groom someone?
Sexual grooming is how sexual predators get close to children. To attempt to sexually groom a child means to build a relationship to the point where the child has no inhibitions. It’s usually done with the intent of abusing them. Sexually grooming can take different forms. Some may try to build an emotional connection, others may blackmail the child. All the while, all this manipulation is done in secret.
UK court convicts Francisco Pereira for his attempt to sexually groom minor girls
While Pereira, believed to originally be from Panjim( although the latest news report says he is from Salcete), initially pleaded not guilty, England’s Isleworth Crown Court has found him guilty and convicted him of the crime.
Pereira was taken down in an undercover sting operation by the Wolf Pack Hunters, an Internet initiative that takes down pedophiles in the UK. According to the initiative, he had chatted with two young girls, and allegedly sent them sexually explicit messages and pictures.
The Portuguese national from Southall, UK stood trial in May 2018 for his attempt to sexually groom the girls. However, according to a news report, he didn’t know the girls were underage nor did he know that he was actually chatting with one of the Wolf Pack Hunters’ volunteers, an adult woman. His lawyer did her best to keep the case from going to a higher authority. She said that there were no minors actually involved but the judge felt that the case was “too serious to be dealt with” at magistrates’ court, and sent it to crown court for a jury trial.
Convicted and a sentence to be given
Now that the warehouse worker has been convicted, he has to wait for sentencing which is scheduled for the 11th of July. His passport has also been impounded by the court. Judge Wood from the Isle Crown court said: “I am not returning the passport because of his guilty pleas. This crime is clearly on the custody threshold in my view. Based on what I have heard and read you should expect a prison sentence,” he told Pereira.
Also, read the below articles for an explanation of the whole story.