News

Nightmare!

Grandmother, church frustrated by authorities' lack of action against 50-y-o man believed to be molesting 13-y-o girl

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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A St Andrew grandmother has been left feeling disturbed by the lethargic attitude of law enforcement officers who, she said, have virtually turned a blind eye to a report of statutory rape involving her granddaughter.

The issue came to the fore during a mentorship programme session at Freedom Evangelical Association in Portmore, St Catherine, after the 13-year-old's grandmother made a report to the pastor.

The pastor, Kenroy Edwards, contacted the Jamaica Observer yesterday, stating that the family has been left with no choice but to turn to the media after several reports made to the police bore no results.

Edwards told the Observer that the child's grandmother first suspected that there was an issue when the child began getting home late after school and was “spending large sums of money” while at school.

He said checks were made and it was revealed that the money was coming from a taxi driver, who is believed to be in his 50s and who operates in the Portmore area.

“We spoke with the Duhaney Park police and they directed us to CISOCA (Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse). We went to CISOCA and they are telling us that we have to go to a doctor. We went to [several] doctors and they are telling us that they cannot do anything and have sent us back to CISOCA. So it has been just one big circus,” Pastor Edwards said.

“I am asking, is this really what the system is like in this country, where we as adults know something is wrong and we're trying to correct it for a child who doesn't know better and a child who is very troublesome and the [authorities]... are not putting anything forward? It's just roadblocks. That is my problem,” he added.

When the Observer spoke with the child's grandmother, who asked not to be named, she said that the child's school contacted her with the issue of the child “overspending”. The grandmother stated that the child is given no more than $500 daily but was caught by the school spending upwards of $1,500 regularly.

The grandmother said that she began checking the child's phone records and noticed that she was contacted frequently by one person in particular. She told the Observer that she confiscated the phone and continued her enquiry.

Further checks revealed that it was the so-called taxi driver who, she said, has not stopped calling.

“They (police) told me to take her to the doctor, and I took her to one and he told me that he cannot check her because it is a police matter and I should go to a health centre. He said if he found out that she was active he would have to testify in court and him cannot bother,” the grandmother said.

“Anyway, I went to another doctor and that female doctor also refused to check to see if she is having sex. I took her to CISOCA twice and they say that unless she confessed that she is having sex their doctor cannot check her. I took her to another doctor after that and that doctor also flat-out refused to do it. So, three doctors have turned me down, and CISOCA.

“I'm disappointed and disturbed because the police won't help me. CISOCA told me that if the gentleman gives her money one time they can't do anything about it. They said if he does it two times and over he can be charged with it. They said to take her to the nearest police station and then call CISOCA. I went to the Duhaney Park Police Station yesterday and I was so disappointed because they said to me she's not confessing and she willingly going to his house in Gregory Park and him willingly pick her up and carry her to him house,” the woman said.

She added that the child last week confessed to mentors at the National Interschool Brigade Movement that she was still receiving money from the man.

The grandmother said that yesterday she returned to CISOCA with the information, but was again told that she would have to get the child examined by a private doctor before the agency could further intervene.

When contacted yesterday, head of CISOCA Senior Superintendent Charmine Shand said that investigators were not aware of the man's age until they were informed by the Observer.

“The grandmother did, in fact, take her 13-year-old granddaughter to CISOCA because she suspected that the child was having sex. The child was interviewed by CISOCA officers and she said that she was not having sex. The child was also referred to the Child Protection Family Services Agency based at CISOCA. They interviewed the child and at that time she still denied that she was having sex. The grandmother was given a referral to take the child to [counselling unit] to see if during counselling we could get any additional information. She was also advised to take the child to a private doctor. If a crime is not reported at CISOCA, in those circumstances, the doctor will not medically examine the child. We can't do that,” Shand said.

The senior superintendent said she has now intervened in the matter and will be conducting further investigation.

“If this man who is 50 years old keeps contacting the child, that is something for CISOCA to start carrying out some investigation. That is a major concern for me,” said Shand.

The Observer also contacted Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison who is now looking into the matter.


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