Man accused of raping 69-y-o infirmary patient allowed to use bathroom before fleeing

Friday, February 21, 2014

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ANGER is said to be growing in Port Maria after news emerged that a 29-year-old man, who sexually assaulted a 69-year-old female patient at the infirmary in that town last week, was allowed to use a bathroom there to clean himself up before fleeing.

A source with knowledge of the alarming incident said that it was raised at this week's meeting of the St Mary Parish Council's Poor Relief Committee in a report submitted by the infirmary.

"The information I have is that the man, after committing the act, told a staff member that he needed to use the bathroom before leaving and the staff member allowed him to do so," the source said.

"But there was an attempt to cover up the incident," the source charged.

Yesterday, when the Jamaica Observer contacted Port Maria Mayor Levan Freeman, he said he was aware of a report that a female patient at the infirmary was assaulted, but could not say whether she was raped.

He also said he had no knowledge of the accusation being made about the staff member as he does not sit on the Poor Relief Committee.

Police Superintendent Dean Johnson also said he could not speak to the accusation made against the staff member. However, he confirmed that the patient was sexually assaulted and that the suspect, an unemployed man of Tryall district in the parish, was in police custody.

According to Superintendent Johnson, the man committed the act on February 11 at 1:24 am. "He was surprised by nurses who heard the commotion and made an alarm and he escaped," Johnson said.

"The suspect was held six hours later. He is now in police custody and is slated to face an ID parade at a date to be announced," Johnson added.

He said the victim "has been medically examined and is recovering from the ordeal".

According to our source, the police were able to capture the suspect after he boasted in his community about what he did.

"It came up at the Poor Relief meeting, but it was on the road before because him go home an' start talk 'bout wha him do ah di infirmary. Ah so comes dem catch him," the source said.

When the Observer asked Superintendent Johnson how the man gained access to the infirmary, he said "the compound is vulnerable because a significant portion of the chain-link fence is destroyed, so people can pretty much walk through."

The property, he said, is manned by security guards, but the service "is not adequate to have prevented that happening, so there is need for the fence to be repaired and more security to be in place".

Attempts by the Observer to speak with someone at the infirmary were unsuccessful.

Yesterday, Opposition spokesman on local government Desmond McKenzie condemned the attack on the patient and charged that there was an attempt by the infirmary's administration to cover it up.

"It is bad enough that criminal elements could have acted with the kind of impunity and savagery in assaulting the defenceless victim in the manner they did," McKenzie said in a news release. "It is even more disturbing, however, based on information I have received, that there were attempts on the part of administrators at the infirmary to cover up the incident.

"The fact that persons in authority at the infirmary failed to respond to the incident in a strident and assertive way, by immediately bringing the matter to the attention of all the critical response agencies, including the police and the parish council, is great cause for concern," he added.

McKenzie called on Local Government Minister Noel Arscott to immediately commission an investigation into the "disturbing incident", saying that "it is imperative that any act of maladministration is unveiled and discovery made regarding the extent to which persons who should have acted with greater levels of propriety and professional care may have been complicit in the suspected cover-up".

Added McKenzie: "Minister Arscott must now affirm the Government's resolve to send this unequivocal signal and take the lead in this instance by carrying out the probe, and ensure that the strongest disciplinary action is meted out to those found to have acted inappropriately."

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