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Six of Seven Convicted in Pitcairn Rape Trial


Six of seven defendants on tiny Pitcairn island in the South Pacific have been convicted of rape and sexual assault against girls as young as 12 years old.

A British court on the island found five of the men -- including the mayor -- guilty Monday. A sixth man pleaded guilty during the trial, and a seventh was found not guilty.

Some of the charges date back 40 years. The victims, now mostly adults, testified from New Zealand by video transmission.

The six men will be sentenced next week, but will remain free pending the outcome of a defense appeal challenging Britain's jurisdiction over the island.

Pitcairn Mayor Steve Christian was considered the ring leader of the group that included his son. Mayor Christian was convicted of five rapes and a number of sexual assaults.

Pitcairn Island is home to 47 people, descendants of 18th century mutineers of the British ship HMS Bounty.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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