Brazil dad: Sexual relationship with daughter he imprisoned was ‘consenting love’

By Bradley Brooks, AP
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dad: Sex with daughter who had kids was consensual

RIO DE JANEIRO — A man accused of imprisoning his daughter for 12 years and fathering her seven children called their relationship consensual Thursday, while a second daughter told authorities she was abused by her father and bore him a son.

Police say Jose Agostinho Pereira, 54, could face up to 30 years in prison for allegedly keeping one of his daughters and their children in subhuman conditions in two-room hut in an isolated, jungle area in northeastern Brazil.

In a jailhouse interview, Pereira remained defiant about the accusations that he had seven children with his 28-year-old daughter.

“It’s a crime, I know it’s a crime. But she was also committing it,” Pereira told local television station TV Cidade from his jail cell. “I only did it because it was a consenting love. If she had not consented to it, I wouldn’t have done it.”

Lead investigator Adriana Meireles said that another of Pereira’s daughters — who is now 31-years-old — is accusing him of abuse.

“The woman confirmed to us that her father raped her and that she had a son about 17 years ago,” Meireles told The Associated Press. “The woman said she escaped from the home shortly after she gave birth to the boy and left him with her father.”

Police say Pereira started sexually abusing his now 28-year-old daughter after his wife left him, when the daughter was just 12. The pair had their first child four years later.

Pereira is accused of keeping her under virtual house arrest since 1998. They and their seven children lived in a thatched-roof hut, outside a tiny fishing village in Maranhao state, an area so remote it can only be reached by canoe.

He was jailed Tuesday in the city of Pinheiro, about 1,400 miles (2,250 kilometers) north of Rio de Janeiro. His daughter and the children are being cared for by the state’s protective care services.

The exact ages of the four girls and three boys are not known, as none of their births was registered. Police believe they range in age from 2 months to 12 years.

A police officer who answered the telephone in Pinheiro on Thursday said he didn’t know if Pereira had yet obtained a lawyer. He declined to give his name, saying he was not authorized to discuss the case.

Under Brazilian law, prosecutors only file charges after police have ended their investigation, which is expected to take another 10 days.

Paiva said police were tipped off about Pereira’s behaviour by anonymous phone calls.

Officers from Pinheiro were sent to the remote area about 10 days ago, where they located Pereira’s house, kept it under observation for a few days and then arrested him.

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