The Free State High Court has handed down a hefty sentence to a child predator - sentencing him to 8,400 years of imprisonment for sexual offences involving children.
Mario Guisti, 36, was found guilty on 1,010 charges for the rape of two boys, one charge of human trafficking, and 1,007 charges of the possession, creation, and distribution of child pornography.
The provincial police spokesperson, Captain Loraine Earle said Guisti was flagged by the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) for uploading child sexual assault material (CSAM) on the dark web.
“Captain Bez Bezuidenhout, from the Provincial Serial and Electronics Crime Investigation (SECI) Unit, a specialised section within the Family Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit, arrested the suspect,” Earle said.
The investigating team, consisting of Captain Bezuidenhout, Captain Fanie van der Merwe from the Thabong FCS Unit, and Warrant Officer Pieter de Wahl from the Provincial Local Criminal Record Centre, worked tirelessly to analyse the information received from Interpol.
“At first, they only received photos from Interpol, and through the eyes of a seasoned detective, a fingerprint was visible on one of the photos in question. Through the analysis of the fingerprint, they could identify the suspect,” Earle said.
As the investigation unfolded, Guisti was traced and arrested in Welkom in August 2022. His electronic equipment was seized for analysis.
Guisti, who is a computer programmer, lured the boys, whom he preferred between the ages of eight and 10 years old, with computer games.
Police said the parents of the victims trusted him and allowed the children to stay over at his house, thinking they were playing games.
“He even got one of the victims to come all the way from Durban to him and stay with him for months,” Earle said.
The court ultimately sentenced Guisti to a total of 8,400 years of imprisonment and ordered his name to be recorded in the National Register of Sexual Offenders. He was also found unfit to work with children.