In the past seven days, 11 cases of sexual assault against minors have been heard in the local courts.
Yesterday, five men appeared before courts in Port-of-Spain and San Fernando respectively to answer to various such charges.
In Port-of-Spain, the Magistrates’ Court heard a case where a 43-year-old Diego Martin man faced a series of sexual offences against two female minors, aged 11 and 13, who were his friend’s children.
Investigations revealed that the girls were spending time at their father’s house in Diego Martin when the incidents occurred. Investigators learnt that the girls’ father allowed the man, who was unemployed and separated from his wife, to stay at his home.
However, during investigations, WPC Joseph, of the T&t Police Service’s Child Protection Unit, found out that during this time in the home, he allegedly built a relationship with the two girls and waited at nights when their father left to have sexual intercourse with them. The girls later told their mother who alerted the CPU.
The man was charged with 13 counts of sexual penetration of a minor; four counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child; two counts of grooming a minor and one count of possession of child pornography by WPC Joseph, who is attached to the Western Division Child Protection Unit (CPU), on November 27.
In another case, a 59-year-old San Juan labourer appeared on a charge of sexual touching of a 13-year-old girl.
The court heard that the man was doing a job at the home of the girl’s grandmother when he kissed her on neck and breast when no one was around.
In the final case of the day, a 25-year-old PH driver from Barataria appeared charged with sexual touching of a minor.
The suspect was arrested and charged on November 28 by PC Castle of the North-Eastern Division Child Protection Unit (CPU).
The charge arose out of an incident involving the girl, who was travelling in a vehicle with the suspect. The victim reported to police that the man drove her to a dead-end near Queen Avenue, Barataria, where he allegedly lifted her dress, pulled out his private part and rubbed it against her leg.
In San Fernando, investigators probing allegations of the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl also discovered that the accused man sexually assaulted his five-year-old daughter.
The 25-year-old Gasparillo man was charged with three counts sexual penetration of the 15-year-old, after he allegedly took the teenager to the home of a relative in April and raped her. He was also charged with one count of sexual touching of a minor by PC Rohan.
Contacted on the increase in sexual assault cases against minors in the past two weeks yesterday, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said he has a game-changer coming soon.
“This is the reason why we formed the Gender-based Violence Unit and we have seen the importance of this unit that has greatly helped persons who have been affected by crime in that regard,” Griffith said.
“Likewise, we have revamped the Child Protection Unit and very soon we will be launching the Sexual Offense Unit, which will be a critical element of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
“We are fully aware of these concerns, very soon there will be something that I will be launching that is going to be a game-changer to deal with sexual offences to children.”
He said the recent cases showed that Trinidad and Tobago was becoming a society which was more likely to uphold lawlessness.
“I think the main reason is because this is becoming a very sick society where certain elements, especially people that you will see on social media, they try to condone wrongdoing. They try to spend more time attacking and discrediting those who are here to protect victims from perpetrators and they try to defend those people who are in criminal activity,” Griffith said while chastising those who were aware of sexual assault, domestic violence and other crime but chose not to report it.
“Just as we have seen constantly as it pertains to domestic violence, on most occasions after the crime has been committed, after the victim has been badly beaten, unfortunately, killed, then you will see the neighbours, the employees, the family members all coming up screaming and shouting that this has been going on for years. Everybody knew about it but not one person ever saw it fit to pick up a phone and submit a report for the police to let the police be aware,” he said.