The Miss Bayelsa Beauty Pageant Organiser, Ambassador Richard Franklin, has been arrested for allegedly raping a 16-year-old model.
Leadership reports that Franklin, alleged to be a serial rapist, was nabbed after his latest victim, Ebi Gesiere’s case was championed by the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) led by Barr. Dise Ogbise Erhisere.
Newsmen gathered from investigations by officers of the state command of the police in Yenagoa that “though the accused has pleaded guilty and made a confessional statement to various cases of rape and alleged sexual assault of potential models and beauty contestants, the police are investigating more petitions and cover-ups involving some police officers.”
16-year-old Giesere fell prey after she purchased the form for the Miss Bayelsa Teen pageant and the Miss Tourism Pageant. During her audition, she met Richard Franklin and he subsequently, on September 25 of this year, invited her for a photo shoot appointment where he allegedly raped her.
Here’s what Gesiere said:
“Franklin asked me to meet him at the Opili Plaza near the NUJ press centre for a photo shoot. Despite my scheduled church service attendance, I went. On getting to the place, he locked the door and asked me to pull my clothes and put on another for the photo shoot. When I pulled, he asked to pull my undies. But I declined. He hit me with iron rod and threatened to throw me from the three story building. He threatened to lock me in and hand me over to boys to defile. He later had his way with the iron rod point close to my eyes.”
Even though previous investigations show that the police in the state had received multiple petitions on rape and assault against Richard, he had never been charged.
The recent sexual assault cases have sparked conversations on how poorly many pageant organisations in the country are supervised. In 2016, the country has been rocked with sex scandals linked to beauty pageants, and this has prompted concerned voices to call for the ban on beauty pageants, especially since little is done to protect the young females who aspire to win the competitions.