SECTIONS
Premium

Jailed for a century: How a beast of a Nairobi children's home director defiled boys

Child home director Stephen Mutisya Nzuki has been jailed for a century for defiling boys.

A Nairobi court on Thursday sentenced a children’s home director to 100 years in jail for abusing and defiling underage boys under his care over years of abuse that went unnoticed until some of them spoke up.

Nobody knew how the case of the State versus Stephen Mutisya Nzuki would turn out, but as hearings continued and witnesses were put on the stand, it was clear that the case would bring to light the very worst in humans.

For six years, the case painted a picture of perfect betrayal and textbook abuse of power in what the prosecution could only describe as ‘inhumane’ to a hushed courtroom on a cold July day in Nairobi. 

The case also revealed how a weak investigative system that seldom believes the victim, set free a man with an insidious past and who used his freedom to prey on the very children he was supposed to protect.

Over diverse dates, Mutisya defiled young boys and got away with it until, by chance, one of them spoke up to reveal a systematic plan of abuse possibly targeting dozens of boys in a children’s home that Mutisya ran.

Court proceedings show the method behind his madness. In some cases, he would pick up random, desperate boys from the streets with promises of food, shelter and education before proceeding to methodically groom them and then abuse them.

Sometimes he would pick boys from a school that he ran together with the children’s home, call them to his office or to the bedroom in his house where he would abuse them and threaten to ruin their reputation if they ever told anyone of their experiences.

Broken by betrayal

On other occasions, he would call a student from his school and demand that the student becomes his wife.

One victim told the court that abuse from Mutisya in the children’s home began when he was ten years old and continued for the next six years to 2016 when the case started. 

For all these years he remained silent. Shackled by self-doubt, broken by betrayal and hurt by the incessant abuse.

The Standard brings you the story that begins with an official affidavit signed by Cpl. Boru Tuke on August 3, 2016, ending with a guilty verdict issued on August 26 by Senior Principal magistrate Zainab Abdul.

“The accused was in the management team of SCREAM Africa, a children’s home and Vijito School within Mihango Area in Kayole within Nairobi. The accused committed the offences against children while under his care,” reads the affidavit. 

Child molesters cash in on the innocence of young souls to satisfy their beastlly cravings.

“The accused is a repeat offender facing other charges in two separate cases under the Sexual Offences Act at Kayole Police Station, at Makadara Chief Magistrate Courts and the Milimani Chief Magistrate’s court.”

SCREAM is an acronym for Save the Children Reconciliation Education and Assistance Ministry.

Cpl. Tuke, in his affidavit, says that the accused, Stephen Mutisya Nzuki, and the victims live within proximity of each other and there is a likelihood of witness interference between the victims and witnesses.

“The victims are vulnerable due to the gruesome nature of the offence and the circumstances under which the offence was committed,” he says, adding that Nzuki was at the time suspected of making approaches to the victims and had displayed threatening behaviour in attempts to encourage the victims to recount their statements.

When Joseph Muraya reported for work at Vijito secondary school in January 2016, he had set targets for himself. 

First, he wanted to encourage the children in the school to take up education and understand that school was the only way to a better life. Second, he wanted to make sure that the children had a close relationship with God. 

Comeuppance: Mutisya in court.

These two objectives meant he became the guidance and counsellor teacher as well as the Christian Union leader at the school.

This also meant that he became a trusted ally of the students. 

Within months of his teaching, the boys, one by one, started opening up to him about what they were going through. 

Many of them, according to his witness statement, started telling him about the sexual abuse they were going through. All of them identified Mutisya, the institution’s director, as the perpetrator.

Muraya couldn’t keep this information to himself. He took three of the boys who had come to him with their deep secrets to the Ruai Children’s Officer Bernadette Mwangi who then called the head of the Children Protection Unit for further investigations.

Scream

Moved by the victims, Bernadette visited SCREAM Africa where other boys complained about sexual abuse by the director.

Unknown to Muraya and some of the boys who had recently joined the institution, SCREAM Africa Children’s Home had been closed three years earlier in 2013, over allegations of sexual abuse against children.

On July 18, 2016, Bernadette made an official complaint at Njiru Police Station.

Mutisya’s charge sheet is direct. The transgressions he was accused of by the state were put down on OB NO.36/2/08/2016.

“Defilement of a child contrary to section 8 (1) as read with sections 8 (3) of the sexual offences act. Stephen Nzuki Mutisya, on diverse dates between August 2010 and January 2015 at your residence at Mihango within the Utawala area in Nairobi County, unlawfully and intentionally penetrated the anus of MFM a child aged 17 years with your penis. Alternative counts: Indecent act with a child contrary to section 11 (1) of the sexual offences act.”

Testimonies

The testimonies of the victims are heartbreaking. Each one of them, described in great detail how they were lured by Mutisya and eventually entrapped into his sickening world, unable to disentangle themselves. Some for years.

“The accounts of what they reported and even what they testified in court were embarrassing events which only a courageous teenager would come forth to talk about. 

We invite the court to note that the quest for justice by the teenage boys who appeared before this Honourable court was their motivation. That’s why they were able to give clear accounts of shameful abuse that happened to them,” the prosecution said.

These are the words of the victims:

Victim 1

“Around August 2010, at around 9.00 pm, I was loitering along By-pass when someone who introduced himself as Stephen approached me and offered to help me. I entered his car and he started driving. After a short distance, he unzipped his trouser and told me to touch his private parts. We went up to the SCREAM children’s home where I was welcomed well by other boys.

When I arrived, I was told that there was no spare bed and so I had to share a bed with the director. That night as I was asleep I woke up in pain only to find the director sodomising me. 

I was in shock and as such could not scream. He finished and wiped me. In the morning the accused warned me not to disclose the ordeal to anyone.

I continued sharing the bed with him for about two weeks within which time he would occasionally sodomise me at night After two weeks I was assigned a bed where I would sleep alone but the accused person would come at night like once or twice a week.

Victim Two

One night around the year 2014, the director sent someone to call me. When I got into the director’s room, he requested I sit beside him. He told me that he loved me and he would like me to become his wife. He requested me to stand up whereby he started caressing me and pulled me close to him. He then pulled my clothes up and started caressing me. I tried to resist but I was too weak compared to him.

I could not resist because I needed the help of the accused in education and living due to the fact life was so hard for me as an orphan. He sodomised me and after he was done he threatened me that if I ever disclosed the ordeal to anyone he would curse me.

In 2015 I and other boys who had been abused wrote a letter to the director advising him to stop abusing us and to source for a wife or someone of his age. We wrote the letter with ‘bad’ handwriting in a bid to hide our identities.

In the letter, we warned him that we would expose him on Facebook if he did not stop abusing us. After the defilement was uncovered around the year 2016 and police officers from the DCI started their investigations, the director relocated all the boys who did not have relatives to his rural home at Machakos. 

As such, when the officers came to conduct their investigations at the children’s home they did not find the boys.

Close to a dozen people testified against Stephen Mutisya Nzuki. But it was the testimonies of the boys that moved the courtroom. But as they testified, Mutisya put forth a defence that centred around a conspiracy involving the boys, a white woman and a plot to steal the Children’s home and school from him. 

 The Defence

Stephen Mutisya Nzuki’s defence was built around the blocks provided by six witnesses.

 During cross-examination, he did confirm to the court that he ran SCREAM Africa as well as Vijito School. He also confirmed that he indeed had rented a six-bedroom house that housed his master bedroom as well as provided lodging for the children under his care.

According to Nzuki, the tribulations in his life started after a romantic relationship with a lady only identified as Brigit. Nzuki said at the end of the relationship, Brigit wanted to fix him and take over SCREAM Africa after having started her own children's home with boys who were initially at his facility.

No mention of Brigit’s second name.

Nzuki’s argument was also corroborated by his witnesses.

“Some two white ladies Brigit and Mariema came and stayed in the school for about 1 week.

 Brigit was not happy with the punishment that was given by the director to a student. I overheard that there was a plan by Brigit to have the director arrested so that she could take over the home,” one witness, who was also a resident at the home said in his statement.

There was no mention of Brigit’s second name. Or how exactly she planned to take over the school.

“Your Honour, the defence has created their scapegoat by the name Brigit. The defence has failed to show the connection between the alleged Brigit and the charges currently before this Honourable court,” the prosecution said while making its final submissions.

After nearly six years, the submissions before the court came to an end and the court made its ruling.

The court found that the prosecution had proved its case and therefore found the accused person guilty of three counts of defilement and one count of an indecent act.

 Background

The accused person was charged with four counts of defilement and alternative of indecent Act.

The prosecutor called 12 witnesses for its case while Mutisya gave sworn evidence and called six witnesses.

The issue for determination before the court was whether the accused person defiled PW 1, PW 4 and PW 5 and committed an indecent act with The court considered the handwritten notes by the boys on 22/5/16 giving an account of the abuse and noted that they were done on a date much closer to when the incidents happened thus their memories were much better at the time. 

The court also noted that the testimony of the medical doctor that injuries in the private areas heal quite quickly even within a couple of hours. 

The court noted that the boys were examined years after the incidents and therefore any injuries would have healed. 

The court also noted previous medical records that showed a loose splinter in the anal area that could have been indicative of abuse.

Satisfied

The court was satisfied that this case was an issue of recognition as the boys knew the accused for a long period having lived with him.

The court considered that sexual offences are done in high secrecy and noted that the accused just denying that the defilement didn’t happen was not enough. 

The court held that it did not find any reason for the boys to frame the accused person. The court further noted the application by the accused person to call PW4 as a witness was improper and declined the same.

 The court found that the prosecution proved its case and therefore found the accused person guilty of three counts of defilement and one count of an indecent act.