BY INGRID BROWN Associate Editor — Special Assignment email@example.com
THE savage buggery of a three-year-old boy, that resulted in the skin being peeled from his stomach during a near 15-hour ordeal unleashed on him by a handcart man in downtown Kingston last year, is one of the many gut-wrenching cases that Superintendent Gladys Brown has vowed will not go unpunished.
The case, which still haunts Brown, who heads the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), remains vivid in her mind down to the imprint of the asphalt which stained the little boy's shirt as he was forced to lay face down on the ground.
"He was taken away on a cart downtown by a man who placed him on the hard surface and buggered him to the point that the skin was torn from the chest, and when the child cried he boxed him to the point where his face got so swollen," Brown told the weekly Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange meeting of reporters and editors at the newspaper's head office in Kingston yesterday.
The little boy, Brown said, endured several hours of this torture, having been abducted at 5:00 pm and was not released until 8:00 am the next day.
"When he came to us, he was really traumatised and unable to walk," she said.
The man, who was pointed out by the boy some days later, is now in custody awaiting trial, while the child is in counselling.
It is cases such as this that have resulted in Superintendent Brown recommending that the CISOCA staff be rotated and transferred from the unit every three years to prevent them from being burnt out by the emotional weight of the job.
"I am of the view that you should not do more than three years in CISOCA, based on the kind of work we do there, because after a while it takes over your mind and your body," she said.
According to the CISOCA head, the limited staff are also overwhelmed by the magnitude of cases they deal with.
"The staff is not sufficient and they are stressed and overworked, and I know it is something the commissioner of police is anxious to address," she explained.
Staff at the Kingston and St Andrew branch of CISOCA include 67 police personnel and district constables, two counsellors and a representative from the Victim Support Unit.
According to Brown, the unit is also challenged by the difficulty in having persons trained and up to speed within months, in order for them to have the requisite experience as those being transferred.
"So we have a lot of burnt-out persons... a lot of persons who are just overwhelmed by the cases," she said.
Brown is optimistic that a new training course being designed specifically for all the CISOCA branches islandwide, and which is to be signed off soon by the police commissioner, will help in addressing the situation.
But in addition to these traumatic cases, the arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force is also overwhelmed with the lack of resources which significantly impacts its ability to provide food and emergency supplies such as underwear and change of clothing to rape and buggered victims.
Brown said the unit, which operates 24 hours, is challenged to find food and supplies for the many victims it sees daily.
And although the unit is not permitted to solicit donations, she said it is in dire need of these items as sometimes her staff need to retain victims' underwear for DNA evidence, or to provide the victims with food while they wait, sometimes for hours, to be processed.
"They need food while they are waiting for the doctors to come because doctors are not under the umbrella of CISOCA, but are on call at the hospital or surgery and they come within a particular time frame, so sometimes persons are there waiting for five, six hours and during that time they are hungry, especially the children," she said.
Brown said the CISOCA staff often use their own money to purchase food for the victims while they wait to be processed.
But despite the limitations, the CISOCA boss is determined to bring to justice all sexual predators.
The superintendent, who is also a lawyer, said the unit is now pursuing a man who also savagely buggered his six-year-old stepson and whose mother seems to be aiding and abetting him, having accused the child of lying.
"She has been protecting that man ever since, and I am determined to get him," she said adamantly.