Man sentenced after court finds child victim old enough to file molestation complaint

TOYAMA — The Toyama District Court sentenced a man to 14 years’ imprisonment in a ruling on Nov. 14, after a higher court judged that a 10-year-old victim in the case was old enough to bring forward a molestation accusation against him.

The district court convicted the man, 43-year-old Minoru Tanaka, of raping and molesting the two daughters of a 39-year-old woman he was seeing between April and June last year, when the girls were aged 15 and 10 years old.

In an earlier district court ruling in which the man received a 13-year sentence, the younger daughter was ruled too young to bring forward an accusation at the age of 10 years, 11 months. Since indecent assault requires a complaint from the victim, the indictment by the 10-year-old was ruled invalid

Public prosecutors objected to this judgment and filed an appeal. In an appeal hearing at the Kanazawa Branch of the Nagoya High Court in July, the court noted that the younger sister was academically competent. It said she had described the damage she had suffered in detail, identified Tanaka as the criminal and declared her wish for him to be punished. It accordingly ruled that she had the capacity to file an accusation and sent the case back to the district court.

The renewed district court trial was subsequently deliberated on the premise that the younger sister had the capacity to file an accusation. Consequently, Presiding Judge Masahiro Fujita heavily criticized Tanaka’s actions.

“He committed indecent acts on the second daughter, who was just 10 years old, which was mean and malicious. He was grossly lacking in a sense of ethics,” the judge said.

Mainichi Japan, November 14, 2012
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