A 47-year old man, who resides at West Coast Berbice, on Friday remained in custody as police probed allegations that he “inappropriately touched” nine students of a school located near his home, police said.
The man’s address and the name of the West Coast Berbice primary school are being withheld to protect the children’s identity whose ages range from eight to 11 years.
Berbice Divisional Commander, Assistant Commissioner Lyndon Alves told Demerara Waves Online News that a teacher saw the man touching the students after buying hot dogs for them. “It happened at the school. He went and purchased hot dogs and in so handing over, then is when the touching (allegedly) took place,” Alves said.
Alves stressed that based on medical examinations conducted, after the students’ parents and the Welfare Officer were contacted, there was no sexual activity involving the children. “They were all taken and medically examined. There was no kind of penetration,” the Guyana Police Force senior officer said.
Guyana’s Sexual Offences Act says “sexual” includes penetration, touching or any other activity if a reasonable person would consider such an act as “sexual”. Further, the law states that sexual activity includes “touching” and “touching” includes touching with any part of the body, with anything else, through anything else. Sexual assault is committed when the accused, among other things, touches another person in a sexual way, and the complainant does not consent to the touching or the act which could constitute sexual assault. If convicted in the Magistrates’ Court, a perpetrator could be jailed for five years or 10 years in the High Court by a judge and jury.
The Divisional Commander could not immediately say whether the suspect had been committing such acts for quite some time now, but he assured that wherever the probe takes investigators they would go.
A source alleged that the man was in the school’s washroom with a child and another student entered the facility, saw the man in the act and reported to her teacher. “The man would lure the children, most of whom are little girls, by taking them to the canteen or to the stall which sells sweets and other things, tell them to take whatever they want and he would pay. In return he would hug them, touch their private parts and he would even try to kiss and bite them,” a source said.
Demerara Waves Online News was told by one of the parents that her children returned home for lunch on Thursday with a hot dog and juice. When the parent investigated where the child got the hot dog from, she was told that the man, who is now in custody, purchased the goodies for the children.
Further she explained that later that day she was informed that the police was in front of her yard to take her and her children to the school and from their they proceeded to the police station.