“My life today is made up of psychological, physical pain, medication,” said Rita de Cássia Corrêa in a statement to the program Fantástico, shown on TV Globo this Sunday, 18. She accused singer Leandro Lehart, one of the founders of the pagode group. Folk Art, of rape.
Ten days ago, the musician was sentenced to nine years, seven months and six days in prison for the crimes of rape and false imprisonment. The artist claims to be the victim of a “great injustice”. In addition to describing the aggressions suffered, Rita told how her life was transformed after the episode.
According to her, they met in 2017, when she sent a message praising Leandro’s work on a social network. He then invited her to visit the studio at her house, in the north of São Paulo. They had a few encounters where there was consensual sex, and abuse, she says, in 2019.
At the time, Leandro suggested that they end up in the bathroom, where they could shower. In the room, she says that the singer began to act aggressively, immobilized her and what followed was a “grotesque and eschatological act of violence”, says the Fantástico report, against which she struggled and fought. Later, she says that Leandro left her locked in the bathroom, saying that he would only let her out when she “calmed down”, so they could talk.
Rita says she suffered humiliation and racism. “You think I wanted what, a relationship? Why do you think I would like a black girl like you?” she reports that she heard. Leandro would also have told her not to go to the police or disclose what happened: “(Said) that with the money he has, his lawyers would act against me and I would come out as a profiteer”.
When he returned home in an app car called for by him, Rita de Cássia collapsed. “I spent a lot of time trying to clean myself, get that horrible smell, that taste,” she said. Since then, she has been living with psychological problems, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and is undergoing psychiatric treatment.
She also lost her job as a ticket supervisor at the São Paulo Metro and even attempted suicide: “I threw myself down a very long flight of stairs, there in despair. Wanting to get away from everything I was going through,” she says.
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Six months after the abuse, Leandro went back to look for her. She relates that when she exposed him to all the suffering she was going through, he tried to redeem himself. “If I have sexually humiliated you and you are in this situation, I assume that. Very ashamed but I admit it. Because I did this to a woman, in exchange for my pleasure. I was selfish”, says a text message shown by Rita to Fantástico.
The musician helped her with small amounts of money a few times and in 2020 he filed a police report. In the document, partially aired on Record TV’s Balanço Geral program last Friday, he describes that he “perceived a certain emotional fragility on her part, so much so that she confessed to him more than once that she took medication and that she was depressed”, moment when he would have decided not to relate to her anymore.
According to Leandro, the decision would not have been well accepted by her, who “demonstrated desires and fetishes”, and that he would have had to “agree with daydreams and absolutely intimate issues to calm her restlessness”. The founder of Art Popular also reported that the victim’s requests for help were extortion and blackmail.
It was only when Rita found a support network that she found the strength to denounce Leandro Lehart. In 2021, after attending the Justiceiras project, which seeks to guide women victims of violence, she decided to go to the police.
The process was processed in judicial secrecy and, on the 9th, the singer’s conviction in the first instance was confirmed. “I was very happy to be able to prove that I was telling the truth and that, in this story, I was the victim”, says Rita.
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She says she wants to encourage other women to feel encouraged to report crimes and aggressions suffered, “whether a public person or not”. In the midst of all the exposure that followed after the sentence was announced, she says: “It’s not me who has to be ashamed, it’s him.”
As the case has not yet become final (that is, the defense can still present appeals), Leandro will be able to appeal the sentence in freedom. The action runs in secrecy of Justice.
In a note, the composer’s defense stated that it could not make further considerations as to the facts. “In any case, Leandro and his lawyers remain confident in the Judiciary and that the truth will prevail, with his consequent acquittal”, says the statement.