Pageant organizer arrested for allegedly raping 16-yr-old contestant

The organizer of a beauty pageant in Bayelsa State has been arrested after he allegedly tortured and raped a 16-year-old contestant.

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A man said to be a beauty pageant organizer in Bayelsa State, Ambassador Richard Franklin, has been arrested for allegedly subjecting a 16-year-old contestant to sexual abuse and torture.

Leadership Newspaper reports that Franklin was arrested on Monday, October 31, 2016, after the state chapter of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), led by Barr. Dise Ogbise Erhisere, petitioned the Commissioner of Police after parents of the young model identified as Ebi Gesiere, lodged a complaint against him.

It was learned that it was not the first time such complaints were made against Franklin as other models and contestants in past pageants have reported to the police how he molested them sexually but he always he had never been apprehended.

According to the victim, she had secured a form to contest on the Miss Bayelsa Teen pageant and the Miss Tourism Pageant and during the audition, Franklin who is the manager of the event.

“Franklin asked me to meet him at the Opili Plaza near the NUJ press center for a photo shoot.

Despite my scheduled church service attendance, I went. On getting to the place, he locked the door and asked me to pull my clothes and put on another for the photo shoot.

When I pulled off my clothes, he asked me to pull off my undies too. But I declined. He hit me with an iron rod and threatened to throw me from the three-storey building.

He threatened to lock me in and hand me over to boys to defile. He later had his way with the iron rod point close to my eyes.”

An investigation by the FIDA further reveals that though the police divisions in the state had received series of petitions bothering on rape and assault against Franklin, some senior police officers had consistently covered up for him after money changed hands.

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