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Sat, Aug 25, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Hsinchu County battles to regain custody of minors

By Irene Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Hsinchu County Government is appealing to the Supreme Court to gain custody of two girls who alleged that they were raped by their mother's former live-in boyfriend, who is now her husband.

In late July, the Taiwan High Court awarded custody of the two girls -- one aged 11 and the other 9 years old -- to their mother despite the fact that the minors claim they were assaulted by their stepfather.

The Hsinchu County Government, which had taken measures to protect the girls since 1998, is appealing to the Supreme Court.

County government social workers began to intervene in the case as soon as they were informed of the alleged sexual assaults three years ago.

However, the girls' mother has testified for her cohabitant, saying that the girls had lied about the incidents. The couple got married last year despite the fact that the stepfather was found guilty of sexual assault and sentenced to 10 years in jail by a district court.

The Hsinchu County Government then filed a suit against the mother and was awarded custody of the two sisters by the Hsinchu District Court.

But the High Court then overturned the district court ruling in late July and awarded custody of the girls to the mother.

Wu Ching-yuan (吳景源), one of three judges in the case, said yesterday that medical examinations had shown the girls to still be virgins and that this had cast doubt on their allegations of rape.

The judge also said that the court found many contradictions in the girls' accounts of the assaults.

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