A North Jersey man serving a 90 years in prison for raping five of his daughters, one of whom he impregnated five times, lost an appeal this week.
In public, Aswad Ayinde was an award-winning music video director for the Fugees. At home, he was a depraved tyrant who lorded over his family like the leader of a sex cult, keeping his children and grandchildren from going to school or making contact with the outside world, officials said.
His authority over the women in the family was so great that the mother of his children and his live-in “second wife” did nothing to stop the abuse, even though they knew he had started raping his oldest daughter when she was just 8-years-old.
Ayinde, 58, appealed his conviction, arguing that the judge in the 2013 trial deprived him of a fair proceeding by allowing “detailed and excessive testimony” describing his sexual abuse of his other daughters.
But the trial judge at the time said he had no choice but allow the jury to hear all the lurid details because that would be the only way they would believe “what might otherwise be the most preposterous story that they will ever hear in their lives – a story that is almost totally unbelievable.”
A three-judge appellate panel on Thursday agreed, calling the evidence “indispensable.”
Akua Montano: Girlfriend serving five years in prison. (NJ Department of Corrections)
“This testimony provides the means for reasonably prudent jurors to transcend their ordinary life experience and examine the emotionally oppressive, socially barren and psychotically toxic environment defendant created to achieve a cult-like control over the female members of his family,” their decision says.
The 2013 trial focused on the oldest of the five daughters he raped.
She never went to school, and gave birth to her first child when she was 16. She got pregnant by her father four more times and carried all but one child to term — all at home without any medical care before or after the births.
The children also were not issued birth certificates, allegedly so that their grandfather would be able to kill them without anybody knowing they had existed.
The daughter, an adult by the time of the trial, bravely testified against her father.
“Between 13 and 16 I was required to have sex with him at least once a day. It increased to twice a day. There was a period that I had to make sure that turned him on or [made] him [ejaculate] at least three times a day. And … if I didn’t do it then he told me that he would then molest my other sisters.”
After she was 18, he forcibly raped her and threatened her with violence.
His girlfriend, Akua Montano, was sentenced to five years in prison for pleading guilty to second-degree sexual assault and testifying against him. She testified that she joined the family as a de facto second wife and described him more as a leader of a cult than a father.
She knew he was raping his daughter as far back as 1988, and said she performed oral sex on the the daughter at his request.
His wife said she learned about the abuse in 1987 when he told her that he was having oral sex with their then-10-year-old daughter.
The Paterson family lived with a police officer in East Orange for two months, but the mother never told the cop because she was afraid.
“I mean, looking back now, obviously it was stupid,” she testified at trial. “But, you know, my mind frame at this time, I believed everything he told me. I went along with everything.”
He was sentenced in 2013 by a Superior Court judge sitting in Passaic to 50 years in prison, in addition to the 40 years to which he was sentenced in 2011 for the rape of another daughter.
The appellate panel on Thursday said his appeal had no merit.
“The horrific details of the crime defendant committed against his own child contravene all of the universally accepted norms of decency, and violate the profound, lifelong trust, devotion and paternal love every child is entitled to receive from his or her father,” their decision says.
Today, the oldest daughter is raising her family. She opened her own catering and baking business, and has spoken about her suffering in an effort to help others.
“I’m going to school and furthering my knowledge of the world and the people around me,” she wrote in an essay on LiveYourDream.org, a nonprofit that helps abused women.
“I am raising my children without the oppression that my father inflicted. I am free to do what I want and how I want.”
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