Owners of a camp in South Africa, which claimed to offer a gay “cure” have been convicted of murder after a teen in their care died.
As The Citizen reports, the ruling by Johannesburg’s Vereeniging Regional Court found Alex de Koker and Michael Erasmus guilty of murder, child abuse and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after 15-year-old Raymond Buys died while at the camp in 2011.
Echo Wild Game Rangers camp purported to “turn boys into men.” For Buys, that constituted being punched, beaten with a spade, a stick and a rubber pipe, forced to eat soap and to pick up his feces with his mouth. Whenever he fell unconscious, de Koker and Erasmus would kick and slap the boy until he woke.
Witnesses told the court that Buys was left in a horrendous state; dirty, alone, soiling himself and often unable to walk. De Koker further abused Buys, verbally shaming him and picking at healing wounds which he and Erasmus had inflicted. Buys was so distressed he attempted suicide, which resulted in his being chained to a bed.
The day before his death, Buys was admitted to hospital, where doctors reported that he was emaciated and “had cigarette burns, was brain damaged and in a deep coma, had a broken arm, and signs of kidney failure.”
Raymond Buys in hospital shortly before he died
“I sent my son on this course to make him a better man, to give him a better future,” Wilma Buys, Raymond Buys’ mother, told The Daily Telegraph in 2013. “I trusted Alex de Koker with his life.”
Two other teens had reportedly died at the camp prior to Buys — Eric Calitz, 18, and Nicolaas Van Der Walt, 19. At the time, de Koker apparently told Calitz that he wasn’t a “moffie” (equivalent to fag) and he “would make a man out of him.”
“Yes, I was negligent. There are a lot of things I neglected to do,” de Koker told the court last year, denying the charges brought against him. Magistrate Retha Willemse clearly disagreed. This wasn’t negligence; it was murder.
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