US-Based Nigerian Jailed For 90-Years For Raping His Own Daughters
Only five years ago, the world was stunned by the notorious case of Josef Fritzl, an Austrian engineer, now serving life in jail. Josef had kept his own daughter, Elizabeth, in an underground dungeon where he repeatedly raped her for 24 years. Elizabeth bore seven children for her “father” while in the dungeon. Her plight came to light after she slipped a note into the pocket of one of her children while she was going to a local hospital for treatment. Josef would enter the cellar, and then order Elizabeth to put off the lights. Then he would rape her.
Then the lights would come on again. Then the lights would go off again on his orders. Then he would rape her again, right in front of the children. There was uncertainty. There were births. There was death. And more rape. That, in a nutshell was the circle of events that kept Elisabeth Fritzl sane for 24 years locked up in her family home basement-cellar by her own father. Above the ground, everything seemed normal. Below the ground, in the basement of the family home, a horror story was being enacted day-in-day-out, for close to two and a half decades.
There was something curiously weird about Josef Fritzl's two families. While he lived upstairs with his wife, Rosemarie, where they had raised seven children and adopted three grandchildren, he also lived downstairs in the cellar with his daughter, Elisabeth, where she gave birth to seven children after being raped continuously by her father. And it was claimed that his family living upstairs never had an inkling of an idea what was going on in the basement for those 24 years!
Reflecting on the way Fritzl ran his two “distant” families in the same building seemed to portray the two yet unknown conflicting components of Fritzl's personality. On the one hand was the public face of the family man described as affectionate with his grandchildren and honest and polite at work. On the other hand was the perverse face of the man who would lock her daughter up in the cellar, a man who was "addicted" to sex with his own daughter and kept her and three of their seven children captive in horrifying conditions with no fresh air or daylight for 24 years.
Fritzl was assessed as having a "profound personality disorder". During his trial, his lawyer, Rudolf Mayer, urged the jury "to keep emotion out of this”. Mayer made strenuous attempts to portray his client as having normal feelings of care and concern for his cellar family. He argued that "a man who put so much effort into keeping two families cannot be called a monster." He told the jury that Fritzl "felt remorse for his personality and what it did to his victims". The implication was that it was Fritzl's "personality" that harmed his victims, not Fritzl himself. Perhaps there was some truth to this. It turned out that Fritzl's cellar life was an enactment or a representation of the perverse fantasy life which he had to lock up inside of himself. He dared not expose it to the light of day.
Fritzl was depicted as a captive of his mother, locked up in her world, with no father to intervene or protect him against her assaults. The story, according to Mayer, was that he had a miserable childhood, brought up by a mother who made it clear that she did not want him. And there was virtually no father to go to. His mother forbade him to have friends and beat him until he was12 years old. Apparently she only stopped when, at that age, Fritzl threatened to beat her back.
The similarity between Fritzl's experiences in the hands of his mother and his cellar world was obvious, although, at the time, the shoe was on the other foot, so to say. In the cellar in the basement of his home he was the supreme commander, the only one in control. In fact, he admitted to Mayer that "the cellar in my building belonged to me and me alone. It was my kingdom, and only I had access to it." In his cellar world, Fritzl was not only in complete control but he could wreak vengeance on the mother who imprisoned him in his childhood by his repeatedly attacking his own daughter which he also admitted he was addicted to. He enjoyed playing the part of the mother who tortured and emotionally raped her child. In his fantasy, he could also become his mother's partner and have babies with her, triumphing over his need for a father.
Fritzl claimed that his sexual relations with his daughter were consensual. But in her testimony, Elizabeth said that she was chained to a wall. The act of raping his daughter was addictive not only in the indescribable excitement it gave Fritzl – it also served as a way for him to express his hatred for his mother while at the same time keeping the relationship alive. In his mind, it was better to have a hateful relationship than no relationship at all. Fritzl had constructed a fantasy life that in many respects depicted his childhood. But it was also a denial, a triumph over the reality of his childhood.
Just as in his past there had been no father to protect him from his mother's hatred, in the cellar there was no metaphorical father, no super-ego inside of Fritzl to protect his daughter and children from their imprisonment in a world of hate. As long as Fritzl could perpetuate that sadistic world of his childhood in the cellar, he was safe from having to face the grim reality of a hateful mother and an indifferent father - a reality that might have tipped him over into psychosis. Fritzl thought it was a "lovely idea" to have a family in the cellar. By keeping his fantasy family in the cellar he could keep his madness locked up and safely contained in the confines of his unconscious. Who knows: his remorse and his concern for what happened to his daughter and the children she bore for him – including one baby who died after he refused to call for medical help - may have probably been genuine.Yet, who would have thought that just last week, what looked like the case of Josef Fritzl was being re-enacted in far away United States of America – by a Nigerian?
Aswad Ayinde, an international award winning music producer was jailed for 90 years. Ayinde who won an MTV award for directing The Fugees' Killing Me Softly, was jailed last week for repeatedly raping his daughters and fathering children with them. His sins finally caught up with him. A New Jersey court lowered the hammer on the disgraced producer for the second time after he agreed with prosecutors that he repeatedly raped his daughters to create a “pure bloodline” that would survive doomsday. 55-year old Ayinde of Paterson, New Jersey, United States, was sentenced to 50 years in prison after being found guilty in the second of five expected trials, in which he was accused of repeatedly raping his six daughters, resulting in his fathering six children with them. He even secretly delivered the babies himself in a bid to keep his diabolical plans away from the government. Ironically, some of the rapes took place in an abandoned funeral home.
From the mid 1980s until 2002 he repeatedly raped and impregnated his six daughters and also had nine children with his former wife, Beverly, and another three with two other women in Brooklyn, according to court documents. In this latest trial, it was revealed that Ayinde began having intercourse with his second daughter from the time she was only eight years old, impregnating her four times.The sexual assaults happened for almost 30 years until Ayinde and his wife separated. They occurred in numerous homes across northern New Jersey, even while the family was under watch of state child welfare officials, according to court documents. The family moved as far away as Florida to avoid investigation after case workers removed multiple children from Ayinde's household in 2000. That incident resulted in Ayinde being arrested for kidnapping when he tried to take them from state custody in a medical center.
In court to give evidence against Aswad were his daughters and ex-wife. In a disturbing disclosure during his first trial, Ayinde's former wife said he was trying to create a “pure family bloodline” by impregnating his daughters. He even claimed during a pre-trial hearing before the first trial that “the world was going to end, and it was just going to be him and his offspring and that he was the chosen one.”
As one of his daughters stood up in court to speak, the judge ordered Ayinde to drop the court papers he was clutching and face the daughter he had assaulted and raped since she was 8 years old, fathering her four children.
“I can't describe how much you hurt me and my sisters,” the 35-year old daughter said to her father, wearing a prison jumpsuit, his head bowed in seeming meditation. His eyes never met hers, not for once. As the woman revealed the horrors her father unleashed on her and her sisters in Paterson, Ayinde shouted: “You should tell the truth instead of lying!” But the Superior Court Judge Raymond Reddin halted him. The judge told Ayinde that he was not the only one who believed the daughter's testimony, so did the 12 jurors who convicted him. While three of her sisters were fighting back tears in the courtroom pews, the daughter who spoke said she had forgiven her father and hoped that at some point he would repent.
After the daughter finished her testimony, Reddin slammed 50 years to the 40-year prison sentence Ayinde received in 2010 when he was first convicted of raping another of his daughters, who bore him a fifth child. The former music producer and self-proclaimed prophet faces three more trials for allegedly sexually assaulting three other daughters after requesting separate trials.
Prosecutors said that Ayinde dominated his children as a god-like prophet who wanted to create a race that carried his “pure bloodline”. Over the years, he molested five of his seven daughters and fathered six children with them, the family and their attorney confirmed.
At the trial, Ayinde's wife testified that the depraved father also beat and starved the girls, using wooden boards and steel-toed boots for even minor faults. Some of the children Ayinde fathered with his daughters were born in their home. At least two of the babies died in the home and were buried without notifying authorities or obtaining birth or death certificates. Ayinde's tortured daughters were home-schooled and isolated from other children. In such a way, he was able to keep the public eye away from his “family secrets”. His wife was said to be too afraid to confront him. So, Ayinde carried on his evil plan without hindrance, even while directing the music video for the Fugees 1996 hit, 'Killing Me Softly, for which he won 'Best R&B Video' at the 1996 MTV Music Video Awards.
The daughter told the jury that their family almost split up in 2001. But Ayinde “bounced around,” and still maintained access to his family. Then in 2003, he tried to rape her for the last time. “That was it. … I just felt stronger,” she said.
Yet, it was only when she and her sisters came to know in 2006 that their father had more children with other women that they decided to go to the authorities. “We found out we had other siblings, young siblings, and we had to put him to a stop,” the daughter said. It appeared the “pure bloodline” idea had been contaminated by the very man who initiated it.
The sisters have continued to stay in close touch. The daughter who spoke in court is studying Communications at Essex County College. Two of her four children have genetic illnesses and doctors have told her the illnesses are likely due in part to the incest. One of her 9-year old daughters died in 2010 of spinal muscular atrophy.
In sentencing Ayinde, Reddin could not hide his disgust for what he had done. “By 13, most fathers are taking their daughters to the park … teaching them to ride a bike,” he said. “You took your own to the bedroom and repeatedly raped her to complete your disgusting, revolting fantasies.”
Like Josef Fritzl, his brother-in- crime, Aswad Ayinde will spend the rest of his life in jail.
*Asinugo is the editor of London-based Trumpet Newspaper