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Horrifying 'ghost rapes' in isolated Mennonite community coming to light years later

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Nine men were convicted in 2009 in connection with the diabolical gang rape of more than 100 women and girls as they slumbered in their own homes in the Mennonite Manitoba Colony in Bolivia. In spite of this, it has emerged that the sexual attacks in the closed community are continuing.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A recent investigation has discovered that even more women and youngsters in the Old Colony -- where motorized vehicles and electricity are strictly banned - are suffering continued sexual assaults they can barely remember. Many families believe the assaults are continuing despite the men, aged 19 to 43, being jailed.

Members of the closed community told reporters that without cameras or streetlights or a police force, they have no way to stop or catch the rapists. The victims say they will have to wait until someone is caught in the act.

In the meantime, they are increasing the security in their homes. "It's definitely not as frequent," the husband of one of the victims says. "[The rapists] are being much more careful than before, but it still goes on."

Women reported that between the years of 2005 and 2009 that they regularly woke up to intense pain and semen and blood on their sheets but their claims were not initially investigated and they were not believed.

Some women claimed to have wakened to find themselves with rope tied to their wrists or ankles. Dirty fingerprints were also found on their bodies that the victims could not remember the previous night.

Some of the women had hazy memories or images of at least one male attacker who they were unable to resist. The trial later found out that the attackers used a powerful sedative to drug entire families before carrying out the rapes. Many women were attacked as they lay next to their husbands, who were also knocked unconscious by the narcotic.

A girl three years of age was among the victims, along with a 60-year-old woman. A pregnant woman gave birth at just six and a half months after being raped while unconscious. Young girls were taken to hospital the next morning suffering from terrible pain and bleeding.

The gang of male attackers led some women to believe that they were repeatedly attacked by demons. Two of the men were found trying to break into a house and their story unraveled.They were eventually caught and jailed in 2009.

Each member of the nine-strong gang were jailed for 25 years and a vet who supplied the anesthetic,made from a cow tranquilizer was sentenced to 12 years.

Located about 94 miles from Santa Cruz, the community is home to about 3,000 ultra-conservative Mennonites. The colony remains deeply traumatized by the scandal.

"It happened so many times, I lost count," victim Sara Guenter says. She told reporters that she tried to stay awake and asked a trusted worker to guard the house but the attacks continued when no one was watching her home.

Electricity is banned in the Old Colonies and the community lives off the land. Men and women's roles are strictly segregated with men working as farmers and given extra education whereas women are responsible for cleaning and cooking only.

The community has no police force, so no one investigated the claims until two men were finally caught trying to break into a neighbor's house.

Orders for psychological help for victims has also never materialized.

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