A Ghanaian college principal, who repeatedly raped one of his African students while threatening her with deportation if she resisted, has today been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
James Safo, 62, ‘controlled, degraded and systematically sexually abused the victim’, Croydon Crown Court was told.
Judge Simon Pratt said the attacks constituted a grave ‘abuse of power’ and was ‘one of the most serious cases of rape I have ever dealt with’.
The court heard that Safo, a trained nurse, left his 30-year-old victim haunted ‘day and night’ by her ordeal.
Safo was the principal and owner of The Secretary College, Croydon, and also owned four care homes. His victim was studying for an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification: a British qualification in a technical or practical subject which shows that a person has a range of skills useful for work) at the college which offers courses in healthcare.
She was also employed at one of Safo’s care homes and lived as a tenant in one of his houses.
Judge Simon Pratt told Safo, a first-time offender: ‘Your course of conduct lasted 18 months or so and involved you abusing your position as college principal and employer to force her to have private meetings so your sexual attacks could happen.
‘You threatened to make life difficult for her with the Home Office by reporting she was in breach of her visa and liable to deportation from this country.’
Safo was convicted after a six-week trial on four counts of rape, one attempted rape and one sexual assault between June, 2007 and December, 2008.
He was acquitted of sex attacks on two other employees and students and a similar complaint was dismissed in 2001.
The victim told police: ‘Images of what this man has done to me haunt me day and night.’
She was pregnant during one of the rapes and later suffered a miscarriage.
Miss Hanna Llewellyn-Waters, prosecuting, said as the victim’s landlord he effectively controlled her life and was guilty of ‘intimidation and coercion’.
Judge Pratt told Safo: ‘There cannot be a more serious abuse of power, it is a serious aggravating factor. The rapes and attempted rape were violent.
‘She described one rape as brutal and whether that rape caused her miscarriage is hard to say, but she will live the rest of her life believing it did.
‘She will have to carry the burden of what you did to her for many years to come. This is one of the most serious cases of rape I have ever dealt with.
‘It involved a betrayal of trust by an employee and college principal and a campaign of blackmail to keep her under control with threats you could have her deported.
‘The offences rely in your desire for power over others as well as sexual gratification,’ added Judge Pratt.
Culled from Daily Mail