Rape victim to be pulled from public school system
Bruises sustained by the female student who was allegedly raped at Oracabessa High School in St Mary on Monday.

ORACABESSA, St Mary — As outrage intensifies over the alleged rape of a student at a St Mary high school, the victim's family has opted to pull her from the public education system.

"The family is fearful that, if she is sent to another school the incident may happen again," a spokesperson told the Jamaica Observer on condition of anonymity Thursday, adding that the child will be home-schooled as she remains severely traumatised.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), in the meantime, confirmed that it has received a report of the incident.

"As a principle, we don't give public information about rape cases in relation to children... We don't give details about it. The most I can tell you is that we have received a report and the matter is being investigated," said Senior Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, head of the JCF's Corporate Communications Unit.

She added that she is not aware of anyone being arrested in connection with the incident. It is also not yet clear if the perpetrator is enrolled at the school where the young girl was allegedly attacked.

A source close to the victim's family, earlier this week, stated that a male attired in a khaki uniform reportedly held a pair of scissors at the student's neck and forced her into a bathroom where he allegedly raped her during the school's afternoon shift. Another student reportedly found the victim naked on the bathroom floor. She was eventually taken to Port Maria Hospital for treatment.

Amid continued investigation by the JCF, as well as the school's administration, the incident is sparking outrage in the community.

Guidance counsellor at another school in the parish, Sheldon Kidd, who is also councillor for the Oracabessa Division, has called for the community to help hunt down the perpetrator.

"The act that was committed by the perpetrator was callous and gruesome. I condemn it and I wish that the perpetrator will be found. I am begging members of the school community and the public, if you know anything, please tell the police or somebody from the school community so that the perpetrator can be caught," he told the Observer on Thursday.

"We are living now in a society of moral decadence. We want to send a message when the perpetrator is caught that he gets the full brunt of the law so that nobody would want to do something like that in the future," Kidd said.

"It must be traumatic. As a guidance counsellor I can relate to what the student is going through. The trauma is overwhelming and it will affect her for life... I can imagine the magnitude of hurt that she has felt and will be feeling," he said.

Kidd lamented that it is not the first time criminals have struck at the school where the incident allegedly occurred. He said surveillance cameras are needed urgently.

"In 2002 the dean of discipline at that school was attacked by a number of boys. They beat him. From that time the administration of the school has asked for some cameras to be installed so that they could have evidence and know what is happening around the school. If that were done then we would have at least had some idea of who the perpetrator [of the alleged rape] is," Kidd reasoned. "I am expecting the powers that be to install these cameras. We do not want this cruel act to happen again to anybody else and so we are begging for the cameras to be installed."

BY HORACE MILLS Observer writer

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