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Sex predator teachers

Published:Friday | June 7, 2019 | 12:25 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer

Teachers in Jamaican schools are coming under increasing scrutiny from the police over a spate of sexual assault cases in which students as young as 12 have been targeted by predators.

Citing police statistics indicating that in Kingston and St Andrew alone this year, detectives at the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse have investigated 375 reports, with children accounting for 85 per cent of the victims.

In cruel irony, several of the cases emerged in May, which was celebrated as Child Month.

CISOCA head, Senior Superintendent of Police Charmaine Shand, during her keynote address to the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Kingston, painted a graphic image of children, especially girls, who were the victims of rape, incest, grievous sexual assault, buggery, sexual touching, sexual grooming, and even abduction.

But she reserved special concern for the troubling incidence of authority figures such as teachers who were using their influence and position to prey on children. She cited several cases of teachers fondling and having forced sex with children in classrooms.

Shand also referenced the March 25 sentencing of a coach to 12 years for sexual intercourse with a person under 16 and indecent assault.

“Since the start of the year, CISOCA in Kingston and St Andrew only, has recorded 182 cases of sexual intercourse with persons under 16 years old, and it should be noted that a number of these reports are from children, and they were only reported because they are pregnant,” she said.

Shand urged parents to guard against abuse of their children, especially when they are away at work, emphasising that students should be repeatedly warned about predators who seek to exploit positions of trust.

Shand said that officers at CISOCA were themselves traumatised by graphic tales of sexual assault, citing that even aunts were sexually assaulting their nephews.

“When you have a four-year-old who is taken to CISOCA and the mother is reporting that her daughter was abused, this is something that we are concerned about. Since the start of the year, we have seen where most of our crimes are committed by persons who are known to the victims. So we now no longer tell persons to be careful of strangers. So what do we tell them? These are our fathers, our stepfathers, our stepmothers, our brothers, our uncles, our cousins who are abusing our children,” she said.