RUSSIAN JAILED FOR MOLESTING 6 GIRLS
Victims, their parents helped by suspect after they were displaced by fire in 2017
She thought a saint had come their way when he helped her and her daughter after a huge fire devoured their house in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City, in July 2017.
But she was wrong.
It turned out that Russian national Dmitri Nikuli had been molesting her 9-year-old daughter and other children.
“Nikuyog mi niya kay nagtuo ko nga buotan siya. Iya gud mi gitabangan. Wa mi nagtuo nga mabuhat to niya sa akong anak (We went with him because we thought he was a good man. He helped us. But we never thought he could do that to my daughter),” she told the police.
Nikuli, an employee of an airline company in Russia, was arrested by the police past 1 a.m. on Friday for allegedly molesting children inside his apartment at El Monte Verde Subdivision, Barangay Lamac, Consolacion town in northern Cebu.
Six girls aged 5, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 16 were rescued.
The girls and their four parents stayed at Nikuli’s apartment for the past two weeks — a practice that they would usually do whenever the foreigner was in Cebu.
Insp. Ronaldo Logroño, deputy director of the Consolacion Police Station, said the mother of the 9-year-old girl alleged that she was preparing dinner last Wednesday when she heard a scream from the apartment’s second floor.
When she went up and got inside Nikuli’s room, the mother was shocked to find her 9-year-old daughter naked with Nikuli who was all dressed up.
The girl later told her mother that Nikuli touched her private parts and that it was not the first time that it happened.
The mother immediately reported the matter to the police, which then hatched an operation that led to the arrest of the 45-year-old Russian while he was on his way to the airport.
“He was ready to return to Russia,” said SPO2 Marjorie Paller of the Women and Children’s Protection Desk of Consolacion police.
Nikuli was detained at the Consolacion Police Station pending filing of charges for qualified trafficking and violation of the Anti-Rape Law in relation to the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act.
The foreigner refused to issue a statement when visited by Cebu Daily News on Friday.
The Consolacion police closely worked with the Children’s Legal Bureau in strengthening the cases that would be filed against Nikuli at the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.
Investigators were also looking into the possibility of filing charges against the parents of the other children who may have earlier knowledge about Nikuli’s alleged lewd acts.
Paller said at least four parents and their children met Nikuli after the fire in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City, in July 2017.
“While they were residing on the road, the suspect allegedly offered them help. Since then, Nikuli had been sending monthly allowances to the four families,” she said.
Whenever he was in Cebu, Nikuli allegedly asked the families to stay with him in his rented house in Consolacion, about 19 km from Cebu City.
Based on the investigation, Nikuli had been coming in and out of Cebu for two years already.
The mother, who informed the police about Nikuli’s activities, said she noticed that children were alternately going inside Nikuli’s room and slept with him.
But she told the police she did not expect Nikuli to sexually abuse the girls.
“Kada gabii, lain-lain daw nga bata ang iyang ubanon sa room. Bali wala ra pud daw sa mga inahan, kay nagtoo nga buotan gyud ang suspect. (Every night, different girls slept with him inside the room. The mothers allegedly did not mind it because they thought he was a good man),” Logroño said in an interview.
One of the rescued girls told the police that Nikuli had kissed them and touched their private parts. The foreigner, she added, also showed to them his genitals.
The police said the six girls chose to remain silent out of fear that they might be driven out of the suspect’s house and would no longer receive an allowance from Nikuli.
Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said the prevalent issues of human trafficking, especially involving minors, must be jointly addressed by different sectors.
“It becomes more serious when it involves children because essentially they are robbed of their childhood and human dignity,” he said.
He said the government was doing its best to crack down violators of human dignity while the church called on parishes to have programs to combat the problem./ with reports from Rosalie O. Abatayo
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