A mother is questioning the length of time the police at La Grange Police Station are taking to investigate the alleged rape of her 12-year-old daughter, while fearing that the suspect has used the delay to flee.
As has become the norm for police investigations into crimes of sexual violence, the mother said she is being told that the police are still investigating.
The police mounted their investigation since December 13 last year and the mother said she has been going to the station since then and has been told the investigation is continuing and the file would have to be sent to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. “I am checking almost every week and for the last few weeks they telling me that the officer who investigating the report on sick leave,” the frustrated mother told the Sunday Stabroek.
She said she has not seen the young suspect in the village for quite some time and she believes he is attempting to run from the law. The woman, a 35-year-old struggling single parent, works long hours at a job that can sometimes see her being away early in the mornings or late in the evenings, depending on her shifts. As a result, she feels partly responsible for what happened to her child because she was forced to leave the girl and two other siblings by themselves on several occasions.
“Sometimes, I have to leave at six in the morning and they would not leave until eight for school and I would come back early afternoon but then at other times I have to leave at two and come back in the night. So, when them come home, I am not there,” the woman said.
She learned of the sexual abuse of her daughter when a neighbour alerted her. “The neighbour tell me that she see this girl sitting by the culvert kissing the boy.
And right away I call she and I ask she and she tell me, ‘yes.’ And when I ask she what else happen, she tell me how the boy does sex she,” the mother said. Her daughter revealed that the young man would on occasion enter their home through the window when her siblings were out and would rape her. On other occasions he would rape her in the yard.
The revelation, she said, “shook me to the core.” She also learnt to her horror that the suspect was planning to take friends at his next visit in order to “bank” her daughter, having sex with her one after the other.
Initially, she said this led to the police arresting three young men from the village. However, only the then 17-year-old was singled out as actually committing the act of rape but the police released him on station bail as the investigation was launched.
The mother said she knows some might want to blame her and she again admitted that she feels partly responsible but she questioned what would become of her children if she should stay at home and not work. “It is very difficult for me. I tell you when I hear this… like I don’t know what to do… I have to work because I am a single parent,” the woman noted.
Since the incident, the woman said her daughter is being counselled and she has removed her from the community because of the stigma. She is now living with a relative. Her father is also playing a more active role in the child’s life, she said.
Meanwhile, Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness (CADVA) local representative Tiffany Jackson, who is aware of the case and has been working with the family, told this newspaper that she was shocked at the line of questioning the police asked the child during the investigation.
“She was asked, ‘Like you like this boy?’” she noted.
“That should not be a question to be asking a child under the age of 16 because we are talking about statutory rape,” Jackson pointed out.
She also said the investigating officer had promised to have police officers visit the community and conduct “spot checks” but this is yet to become a reality.
Jackson said she believes the girl’s mother needs legal advice and representation in order to ensure justice is done and she is hoping CADVA could provide this kind of assistance.
Jackson said her organisation is also very worried about what is happening in the village where the child lived. She said following the allegation she went around and spoke to persons in the village and learnt that they were very concerned for their young people because it appears as if crime is the order of the day.
Calling on the police stations nearest to the village, such as the La Grange Police Station, to play a more integral role in cleaning up the crime situation in the village, Jackson said one of the worrying issues is a gambling den in the area. She was told the den is operated by a businessman with ties to the community’s policing group and even police officers would participate in the illegal activity.
The den, she said, is an attraction for the young men in the village who are there at all hours in the night. “If we continue like this, what is going to happen? We are looking at the future generation here who would be the future leaders,” Jackson pointed out.
She said she was told the young men are also smoking marijuana and cocaine.
She pointed out that gambling leads to other crimes and when the youngsters find themselves out of money they can become violent or get involved in petty larceny in their quest for more money.
Jackson also said she was told that crimes committed in the area are not being properly investigated.