Sat | Nov 27, 2021

7-Y-O RAPED - Given $120 in hush money by alleged predator

Published:Saturday | December 19, 2020 | 12:16 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer

A days-old hunt for an elderly man accused of molesting a seven-year-old girl in a small farming St James community, which The Gleaner is choosing not to name, is under way with the police vowing to search “every inch of this parish” to find him.

The police report that on the day of the incident, the child, who was visiting her step-grandmother, was sitting on the verandah when she was approached by the suspect, who is known to her.

He reportedly held on to her hand and carried her to the rear of the building, removed her clothing and molested her before giving her $120 and told her not to tell anyone.

As soon as her stepmother returned to the yard, the young girl reported what had happened and she was taken to the police station and a formal report made.

Went into hiding

The accused man later learnt that the matter was reported to the police and immediately went into hiding.

“We are searching every inch of the parish in search of this individual,” a senior cop told The Gleaner, asking members of the public who can assist in locating the suspect to call the nearest police station.

“We have gotten several leads as to where he might be hiding, but on each occasion, we are not lucky to locate him,” the officer added. “[We are] also of the belief that he might have fled the area.”

News of the incident has shocked residents of the community who expressed their outrage to The Gleaner.

Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison is urging parents and guardians to be extra vigilant this holiday season and to keep an eye out for predators.

“Whenever we hear about instances such as this, it really, I think, gives us a good opportunity again to remind persons that it is the festive season, and some persons have other ideas, so we need to be very careful about the kind of activities we have our children doing,” she said.

Deviants in society

Gordon Harrison said it was sad that children could not be safe in the confines of their homes or have their innocence preyed upon as they run errands.

“We should be able to send your child, if she is old enough, to collect an item at a neighbour or to go to a shop, but the thing is we have deviants in our society. We have deviants in our community who know the children and are actually targeting them,” she said.

“This is one of those unfortunate cases, but it is one that gives me hope because this little girl, despite being just seven years old, actually disclosed to her parent and to the authorities that they can now be looking out for this alleged perpetrator.”

She is hoping the police will soon nab the suspect, adding that more often than not, such predators are held when the police get the reports and the full support of the communities.

“Where we sometimes falls down a little is when we have a response that is not supported by persons in the community who are seeing these things, but who are refusing to talk, but when the police do get information that are credible, they do act,” she said.

Reports of rape have fallen by 15.3 per cent year on year with police statistics revealing that there were 447 cases up to December 12 this year, compared with 528 for the corresponding period in 2019. St James has seen a 40.5 per cent drop in cases this year with 25 reports as opposed to 42 last year.