TWELVE out of a possible number of more than 34 children, who became unwitting victims of child pornographer, Johann Wickus Maree, must still be traced by detectives working on three continents to unravel the accused person’s web of perversion and betrayal of innocents.
Maree’s victims included boys as young as nine and his sexual exploitation and abuse could stretch as far back as a decade or more.
Fourteen out of the 34 known victims that could be positively identified and traced, still has to be processed and interviewed by the investigative team.
The accused not only made use of hidden cameras in ablution facilities at schools and public sport venues to create videos of children engaging in sexual acts but he also filmed himself while sexually abusing some of his victims to create child pornography which he sold on obscure internet websites known, as the dark web.
Before his arrest Maree managed a website called “Boy Idols” where he posted pictures of young boys modelling clothes and swimwear. He recruited and photographed the victims where users of the website purchased the pictures upon registering to the website.
The child exploitation and pornographic videos was posted on a TOR Dark Web pornographic forum where he shared and sold his smut to paedophiles from around the world.
Maree appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court earlier this week on 40 counts of crimen injuria, indecent assault, offences under the Child Care Protection Act, contravening the Combating of Rape Act and contravening of the Prevention of the Organised Crime Act. The charges pertain to eight of his victims that have already been processed by the international team of detectives.
Detectives from the Namibian Police have collaborated with investigators from the Netherlands, South Australia and Interpol and have had the accused person under surveillance since 2019.
Maree was arrested on Thursday after investigators raided his house in the Cimbebasia residential area of Windhoek where they confiscated various items such as computers, hard drives and other evidence linking him to the crimes. The evidence will be subjected to forensic examination which could lead to the possible identification of even more victims.
In this regard the Namibian Police urged parents, who suspect that their children might have been sexually abused or exploited by the serial child rapist, who worked as a private investigator and school sports photographer by day and a smut peddler by night, to come forward and contact the investigative team with such information.
People with vital information are requested to contact the National Head of the Criminal Investigations Division, Commissioner Nelius Becker at +264 61 209 3252 or +264 81 129 9215 or Detective Chief Inspector Pennies Olivier at the Gender Based Violence and Protection Subdivision of the Namibian Police +264 81 421 0903.
The Namibian Police gave the assurance that all information and details of victims will be handled with the strictest confidentiality and in line with the provisions of the applicable legislation.