'Child torturers' sentenced to jail

Independent Online, South Africa/October 24, 2008

Prague - A Czech court on Friday sentenced to prison the mother and aunt of two boys brutally tortured in the name of a religious sect, a court spokesperson said.

Mother Klara Mauerova and aunt Katerina received nine- and ten-year sentences respectively, for keeping Ondrej, eight, and Jakub, ten, locked up naked and chained in dog cages, burning them with cigarettes and injuring them with sharp objects.

Mauerova, 31, her sister Katerina, 34, are to be sent to a high-security prison.

Prosecutor Zuzana Zamoravcova said the torture was meant to break the boys and enslave them for religious purposes.

For her part Barbora Skrlova, 33, who saw herself as the future "goddess" of a religious sect involved in the abuse case, will serve five years, while her brother was sentenced to seven years, along with the boys' nurse Hana Basova.

Skrlova's father, who is missing, founded the sect which allegedly sought to rejuvenate Skrlova. The fragile-looking woman took on the identity of a 13-year-old girl who lived with Klara Mauerova and her sons.

A breakaway from the Movement of the Grail, the sect calls for members to prove their devotion through physical abuse.

Authorities only stumbled by chance on what was happening in May 2007 when a neighbour in the eastern town of Kurim picked up images of the bound and naked Ondrej after installing a home TV surveillance camera.

According to the prosecution, the mother broke down when a member of the sect demanded that she cut off a morsel of flesh from Ondrej's body and force him to eat it.

The boys now live in care in a residential home in the city of Brno where they are receiving psychiatric care.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.