St Mary court overflowing with sexual offence cases; senior cop says strong team on hand to jail offenders

Senior staff reporter

Monday, February 17, 2020

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WITH 117 sexual offences reported in the parish of St Mary last year commanding officer for the police division Superintendent Bobette Morgan-Simpson is issuing a stern warning to offenders that they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law when caught.

In an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer North & East at her Port Maria office last Thursday, Morgan-Simpson noted that there is a worrying trend as it relates to the number of sexual offences cases brought before the Michaelmas Circuit Court in the parish.

Between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019 there were 45 reported cases of sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 years; 22 reported cases of rape; 10 reported cases of grievous sexual assault; nine cases of sexual touching of a child; seven reported cases of indecent assault; six reported cases of incest; six cases involving attempted rape; three cases involving aiding and abetting rape; three cases involving buggery; two cases involving assault with intent to rape; one case involving abduction of a person under 16 years; one reported case of aiding and abetting grievous sexual assault; one reported case of forcible abduction; and one case involving gross indecency.

Ninety-two of the cases have so far been cleared.

“We have to be concentrating a lot on sensitising communities to the whole matter of sexual offences and especially with the children. We find that we are getting a lot of reports. Every time we have circuit court trial most of the matters are sexual offences. It is sad but true, and a lot of them have to do with having sex with children under 16,” Morgan-Simpson disclosed.

Already this year there have been five reported cases of sexual offences in the parish. Between January 1, 2020 and February 13, 2020 there have been two reports of rape, two reports of sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years and one reported case of incest.

Morgan-Simpson said, while in some instances perpetrators are ignorant as it relates to what the law dictates, more often than not offences stem from what she described as a cultural norm.

The superintendent said the age group of some offenders suggest that they are well aware that a crime is being committed, but proceed to commit the offence because in their minds it should not be illegal.

Added to that, she said the victims in most instances are taken advantage of because of a lack of resources.

“There are others where the mothers, in some instances, may have some relationship with the men and then sometimes the men will take advantage of the girls... We find children as young as eight years old, nine years old being caught in these [situations] where you have big men that are molesting [them]. But, I have a very strong CISOCA (Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse) team and they don't play.

“So, when they come to our attention we're going to dig them out and we're going to find them wherever they are and we're going to prosecute them; put them before the court and when my investigators finish, they're going to prison. The matters are being pursued; being investigated, placed before the court and men are going to prison,” Morgan-Simpson told Observer North & East.

Additionally, the senior cop said often among the group of offenders are young boys who are ignorant of the law.

Describing this finding as “disturbing” she said these boys are usually not older than 14 or 15 years old.

“[These are] schoolboys who are engaged in activities [such as] rape and that sort of thing. When it comes to circuit time and you go by the court and you see some of those youngsters that are coming before the court for sexual offences it's really a serious challenge. I think in their cases many times ignorance may be a part of their problem. But then, it's also a part of how they are socialised. It depends on what happens at home. Is there a good structure at home or is it a proper [environment] Is it that parents are engaging in activities that children are seeing or are exposed to It makes you wonder,” Morgan-Simpson reasoned.

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