Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Evaluate 14-y-o rape victim urgently, urges child psychologist

Published:Wednesday | December 7, 2016 | 12:00 AMJason Cross

Child psychologist and family therapist Dr Orlean Brown-Earle has made a firm recommendation that a 14-year-old girl, who was allegedly kidnapped in Kingston on Sunday, taken to Portmore in St Catherine then raped by two men, be psychologically evaluated.

For a number of reasons, Brown-Earle believes that the child could be seriously affected in the future and, therefore, requires immediate attention.

"She needs to get counselling and a psychological [evaluation]. She needs to be evaluated, a diagnosis provided, and therapy started immediately [in order to prevent] her from becoming depressed and possibly psychotic," she told The Gleaner on Monday.

Brown-Earle questioned why the alleged victim and one of the accused had travelled together in the same police vehicle to the Waterford Police Station after she pointed him out.

She said the problem was further compounded as a result of them travelling together in the same car.

The accused has since escaped police custody. The explanation coming from the police is that the suspect managed to break himself free from faulty handcuffs. The other man believed to be the second person involved in the rape has not been apprehended.

But the psychologist was concerned that any post-traumatic stress disorder in the teen would be exacerbated by fear and fright knowing that the suspect was no longer in custody.

"Also, [there is] the fear that she must have experienced travelling beside this individual in an enclosed vehicle," the psychologist added.

"You can't put the perpetrator and the hurt person together! You don't know how the perpetrator could have intimidated her. People who rape are generally very aggressive persons. That is so scary!" Brown-Earle exclaimed.

 

DUTY TO RECAPTURE

 

Explaining the procedure for escorting an arrested person, Wray Palmer, assistant commissioner of police (ACP) in charge of the Inspectorate of Constabulary Operations branch, told The Gleaner that it was the responsibility of the police to ensure that the suspect did not escape custody.

He also told The Gleaner that there was no legal framework that governs how a victim and an accused are transported to a police station. However, he said, if the accused escaped, it was the duty of the police to recapture him.

Asked if the officers might have blundered and if they would be removed from front-line duty, Palmer said, "I do not want to make pronouncements in that regard right now. Once we do the investigations, we will prepare a file and send our findings to the commissioner [of police]. Sometimes we refer the matter to the director of public prosecutions."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com