Teen sex ring pimp Gerhard Ackerman handed 12 life sentences
Sex trafficker Gerhard Ackerman has been sentenced to 12 life sentences for the paedophilic crimes committed under his watch and by him.
The sentences will run concurrently, judge Ismail Mahomed ordered. He also declared Ackerman unfit to work near children in future.
“You are evil. In the future you should never be allowed around children,” said Mahomed.
Ackerman, found guilty of 723 counts including sexual exploitation, rape and living off the proceeds of crime, immediately pronounced his intention to petition for a retrial.
“This is not who I am, my family and friends know the real me. Whatever is being said is not me. I’m innocent,” he said.
The judge said Ackerman had slim chance of being successful if a retrial was granted but gave permission for him to bring a motion for this. The motion will be heard on November 30.
Ackerman ran a massage parlour in northern Johannesburg and arranged appointments for adult male clients to receive massages with sexual experiences with teenage boys between the ages of 14 and 16. He sent one youth to a client knowing the client was HIV-positive, which led to his conviction on one count of attempted murder.
During the trial, which began in January, the court heard testimony that Ackerman had found his victims, who came from vulnerable backgrounds, through social media platforms, groomed them and benefited financially from facilitating their services to clients.
Phindi Mjonondwane, NPA spokesperson, said: “We will oppose the retrial as we can’t afford for the children to be re-traumatised. We dedicate this sentence to SJ (one of the victims), as he is ill. We hope he will focus on his health and find closure.”
During the trial, it was revealed that SJ had tested HIV positive in 2022.
SJ, who had started gender transition and was on hormone therapy, was raped by Ackerman after they met via Facebook when he was 16. SJ was also trafficked to acting judge Paul Kennedy for sexual acts despite Ackerman knowing since 2020 that the lawyer had HIV. Kennedy committed suicide after being arrested in connection with the case.
Mjonondwane said people of Ackerman's calibre do not deserve to be in society. “He's selfish and he showed no remorse. We will not support any abuse of court processes.”
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