Legal bind

Lawyer frustrated with parents who take bribes and allow molesters to escape

Child molesters continue to escape justice by bribing the parents of victims because the law has not found a way to stop them, according to a senior attorney-at-law.

Queen’s Counsel Ralph Thorne told last night’s Man Talk panel discussion organized by the Wesleyan Holiness Church at Cave Hill that the “deeply destructive” practice was a troubling one for the legal profession.

In recent times there have been calls for legislators to rewrite the Laws of Barbados to give the state greater responsibility for children, by making them wards of the state when they become victims of sexual abuse.

This would mean that prosecution of the crime would no longer rest in the hands of parents.

However, Thorne suggested that even if the relevant legislation were enacted, it would be difficult to stop the predators because parents continued to be complicit.

“I don’t know where the legislation is at in terms of forcing people to give evidence, but what I can tell you, is that is going to be tough to manage. If the child is abused and the mother tells the child not to give evidence, who is going to come and give it? Even if they force the child to go on the witness stand, who is going to make the child say something if the parent has already told them not to say anything? It is a very difficult creature to manage. So a lot of these issues remain immoral and deeply destructive to society, but the law has not found a creative way to manage them,” the senior attorney said.

The troubling issue of child molestation has surfaced here frequently, particularly as schoolgirls, who apparently run away from home, sometimes end up at the homes of much older men.

There have also been instances when videos emerge showing young girls engaging in sexual activity with adult males.

After one such video came to light two years ago, Minister of Education Ronald Jones complained of  “sexual predators” within the island’s school system and  issued a stern warning that the authorities intended to come down heavily on the culprits.

In a fiery address to the Lodge School’s Speech Day in April 2015, Jones had said his ministry would adopt a policy of zero tolerance towards any teacher found guilty of sexually exploiting students.

He said then he had received a photo via social media of a 13-year-old secondary school girl engaging in sex with a fully grown man whose face was hidden, while the girl’s was fully exposed.

“Should a 13 year old who should have been in school be sexually bludgeoned? Even if she were 16 years, should she be sexually bludgeoned and her face and her form displayed, but yet you cannot see the face of the male? That has to be deliberate,” he said then.

Former teacher and Member of Parliament for St Thomas Cynthia Forde has also voiced this concern in the House of Assembly about child molestation, complaining last April that there were too many paedophiles in Barbados walking around scot-free because they have high social status and connections.

“There are some hard back men who are taking advantage of our young children. Too many paedophiles are in this country walking around scot-free because they are somebody. They have a business; they are known by the minister; they are friends of the police, all kinds of nonsense and our children are falling through the cracks. When children are scarred through molestation and abuse in whatever form it remains with them forever,” Forde said then.

However, Thorne said last night that parents who accepted bribes from alleged child abusers were frustrating magistrates.

“In the courts a lot of magistrates discourage parents of abused children because there is always the suspicion that the parents take money from the accused person to settle the case. That happens quite often and it is a very tragic circumstance, which is difficult for the magistrates to manage because it is difficult to prove the transaction between the persons. The mother is not going to say that she took money but it happens,” Thorne said.

He also said some magistrates were quick to dismiss such cases “for want of prosecution because the magistrate just wants the court’s calendar to be a little lighter”.

colvillemounsey@barbadostoday.bb

20 Responses to Legal bind

  1. Milli Watt October 27, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    I thought once it concerned a child the DPP or the COP carried the case forward in the name of the child………..I clearly missing something.

    Reply
  2. Anfaani Henry
    Anfaani Henry October 28, 2017 at 12:42 am

    This is super disturbing and disgusting.

    Reply
  3. Blessed Bobb
    Blessed Bobb October 28, 2017 at 4:51 am

    This is so wrong why would people take bribes,after someone has taken and violated your child’s innocence,no amount of money can erase what was done.
    When you encourage such behavior they will keep moving on to the next victim and this is so wrong,and then these kids have to live with the scars for life.
    The law needs to step in lock them up and throw away the key,also we need stiffer penalties for child molesters,if I had my way I was giving them life, or the death penalty.

    Reply
    • Leroy October 28, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Many times the girls being taken advantage of are poor and mom is not working, father not around to care. Many moms know the girl is having sex here and there with teen fellas and when a big man is caught in the net, she gladly accepts the payout. Has been happening for eons and wont stop by legislation but can be curtailed by it. What would change it is family values and eradicatìon of poverty.

      Reply
  4. Thunder October 28, 2017 at 5:10 am

    Taking bribes after your child has been molested is so wrong,what that person did to your child is so sick to begin with,and you compound it by accepting bribes, this is just messed up,I am a firm beliver that anyone who molests a child is worthy of death.
    I would like to also see a sex offenders registry,where persons who are guilty of such crimes are placed on a public list, so that people will know who they are,but part of the problem is there are people who sit in powerful positions and prey on the Innocence of children, these kind of people,need to be prosecuted,it is time the law takes the fate of justice,out of the hands of some of these parents,because if you leave it up to some parents or guardians,these children will never get justice.

    Reply
  5. Kim Smith
    Kim Smith October 28, 2017 at 5:57 am

    I agreed with you but the child care board here is a waste if we invest in bigger children homes to protect our young people the less we will spend on a bigger prison and Aids medications. Our children are expose to drugs and sex at very early age .if we take away some of these children you will see that some of these parents will pull up themself.

    Reply
  6. Santini More
    Santini More October 28, 2017 at 6:23 am

    This is indeed a tricky area but due to the importance of protecting our children we need to put a greater effort into identifying pedophiles and punishing them. The damage these dangerous persons are doing to our children, and therefore Barbados, cannot be ignored just because the solution is not an easy one.

    Reply
  7. Michael Crichlow
    Michael Crichlow October 28, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Most Social Services are proverbial Proverty pimps.

    Reply
  8. Mechell Springer
    Mechell Springer October 28, 2017 at 6:57 am

    Whereas a child through their patent has indicated to the court that he/ she was sexually abused, why does the law then allow for the case to be dropped. The law is meant to protect the vulnerable and for sure children are. Certainly a way can be found. If a case of this nature is brought before the court even if a parent took a bribe then dismissal of that case should not be allowed. Try harder always to be a voice for children by our actions.

    Reply
    • Leroy October 28, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      The girl then refuses to testify, how can u proceed with the casr?

      Reply
  9. Michelle Griffith
    Michelle Griffith October 28, 2017 at 7:54 am

    This is wrong on both sides, because when a case like this has been reported,as long as it is a minor involved the parents most likely the mother should no be in a position to drop the case, also the judicial system have a lot to play in this as well because of the length of time it takes to call the case. I know of a young lady who was sexually assaulted when she was eleven years old,
    case took about 13years before the guy was found guilty and sentenced, this is one reason these pay outs happens.
    I also know of a guy who told me he paid a mother $10,000 to drop a case against him.

    Reply
  10. Sue Donym October 28, 2017 at 9:00 am

    This issue is not always so straightforward.
    The judicial process itself is one reason some parents decide to settle the case after years of hanging over the head of an already tormented child – male or female.
    If we’re going to speak the whole truth, is it not the case that lawyers themselves suggest and broker such settlements?
    I noted Mr Thorne’s use of parent as mother almost interchangeably. Here again is a part of the problem: mothers are in fact often parenting alone and even when such experiences befall the children, still no parental support from the fathers.

    Let’s be very serious. No parent should feel comfortable accepting money for their own gain in such a situation. The parent should be dedicated to having the perpetrator identified and punished. Reality brings some unusual and compelling situations where the child’s wellbeing is at risk. Not all children will fare well under the further physical intrusion, the blistering interrogation or the need to relive the incident. An observant parent will also consider this. There are times that it might be advisable for a fragile child – ill or psychologically challenged – not to go forward with prosecution. Frankly, in such a case the money might be applied to therapy for the child.

    Some children might become adults while they await prosecution and some children might have made progress that could be hampered by being forced to relive the event.

    An important part of the discussion though, has to be a sustained public and unapologetic campaign to inform how men are involved and why they must change some attitudes to girls, women and the things that result in such crimes. While we focus on how the perent reacts, let us not forget how we got there.

    Reply
  11. 3rdsun October 28, 2017 at 9:07 am

    A lot of poor and underemployed women pimp out their girl children. They see the the girls as money makers. So it’s no surprise to hear money makes the drop cases.

    Reply
  12. Ras Small
    Ras Small October 28, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Children are not only being abused & molested by pedophiles n parent(s), but are being exploited by big business and government daily.

    Reply
  13. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner October 28, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Take a good look at parents who pimp out kids to highest bidders it’s been happening in Barbados for many moons,so stop acting like it don’t because it does, get real folks.

    Reply
  14. Helicopter(8P) October 28, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Please do not allow this ward of the state thing to be the answer to Barbados’ problems for children, it may become a nightmare where children feel as though they are a piece of furniture and create low self esteem of themselves.

    Reply
  15. jrsmith October 28, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    The big issue, not being able to bring certain people to justice , because most of the
    ones who commits the crimes , are the said ones who help to make and enforce the said
    laws and protects each other……….

    Reply
  16. ateba October 28, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    I think that if the child was abused, bring the case an if the parent being bribed (prosecution) for them as well. If money is more important than there child’s well being. Send them ass along to prison too.

    Reply
  17. MARIA Holder October 28, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    This is also the reason why we have so many angry children. Many children with whom I come into contact no longer defend their parents if one of their peers ‘tell them bout their mudder’ or duh fadder. Far from being upset, they will agree with the person and tell you, “he/she is not lying, it is true – my mudder/fadder wutless etc.

    Reply
  18. Carrie GAMMA 1985 October 31, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Why isn’t there an independent body through school or a health or therapy centre where vulnerable parents and children can speak to a responsible social care worker. If confidentiality or anonymity is preferred, why is there not a phone line where qualified persons are available to give advice and show the parent or child at risk precautions and police could investigate?

    Social work/ Child Counsellors/ Healthcare/Law working together to eradicate this heinous crime against children and stop BOTH the parent and predator!

    Reply

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