A female school teacher and male security guard have been denied bail after they appeared in court jointly charged with the sexual assault of two 12-year-old female pupils of a private primary school in east Trinidad.
The 46-year-old teacher and 35-year-old security guard are jointly charged with sexual penetration and one count of trafficking a minor for sexual exploitation.
They appeared before Magistrate Indra Ramoo-Haynes at the Tunapuna Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The teacher is facing a total of nine charges, including sexual penetration on the school compound, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, one count of sexual penetration at a house in east Trinidad and trafficking a minor for sexual exploitation.
The guard was also charged with one count of sexual penetration of both minors at a location in Malabar between September 1st and November 3rd, 2022.
According to the TTPS, a report was made to the police by the principal of the educational institution to the Special Victims Department on November 3.
Both minors alleged that they were sexually penetrated on the school compound and sexually assaulted at a location in Malabar between September 1 and November 3.
Police said further investigations uncovered a sexual exploitation ring involving minors.
The adults were arrested following a search warrant exercise.
The exercise was coordinated by Inspector Wayne Stanley and Sergeant Marlon Bishop and conducted by WPC Kernisha Valere, all of the Child Protection Unit. The investigation was also assisted by acting director of Counter Trafficking Unit Kimoy Thomas and its officers and members of the Inter-Agency Task Force and Cyber Crime Unit.
The charges were laid on December 18, following the advice of legal officer Zaheer Ali.
The teacher and security guard are expected to reappear in court on January 16, 2023.
Assistant Police Commissioner, Criminal Division, Sharon Cooper, who spearheaded the investigations, yesterday said she hoped the latest charges will prompt more pupils to come forward if they have been abused at the institution.
Guardian Media reached out to Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly for a comment on the issue yesterday. She condemned all forms of abuse.
“Abuse of any kind is a travesty, worse when children are involved. If they are found guilty, I expect that they will be dealt with to the full extent of the law,” Gadsby-Dolly said.
Meanwhile, National Parent-Teacher Association president Kevin David called for the regulation of private schools and for proper legislation of private educational institutions across the country.
“There are a lot of things going unchecked. We need to actually investigate and look into these sorts of things, because due to the fact that these institutions go unchecked and unregulated, we will have these sort of things happening from time to time,” David told Guardian Media.
But according to Gadsby-Dolly, these incidents are unfortunately not restricted to private schools alone.
“Teachers in public schools have also historically been accused of sexual misbehaviour towards students. There is no evidence that these accusations occur more frequently in private schools,” she said.
Steps to take after sexual assault
If you or someone you know has been the victim of assault/abuse, please know that you’re not alone.
Be sure to inform an adult or someone you trust and reach out to the relevant authorities to make a report, seek support and receive access to safe accommodation.
Domestic Violence Abuse Hotline: 1 (868) 800-SAVE or 800 7283
The Children’s Authority Hotline Numbers: 996 / 1 (868) 800-2014
Abuse helpline: 800 7283
The Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago (RCS)
Remember that you are not alone.