Officers of the Child Protection Unit are awaiting further instructions from the legal officer assigned to the Children’s Authority to begin their interviews of 19 wards of the St Mary’s Children’s Home in connection with alleged sexual abuse.
Yesterday, senior officers of the unit said they were supposed to begin interviewing the children on Monday, however, they were informed by the legal officer that certain procedures had to be followed before the interviews could take place. Some of the wards who have parents or guardians will be the first to be interviewed.
Nineteen children of the home are being closely monitored by social workers assigned to the Children’s Authority in the aftermath of allegations that they were being sexually assaulted by some of their peers.
The children were taken to the Teaching Hospital in San Fernando last Friday where they were medically examined and four were deemed to be sexually active. Bishop of the Anglican Diocese Claude Berkley held an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon with the board of the Anglican Church to discuss the findings of the Children’s Authority of sexual abuse at the children’s home.
He told Newsday no useful information came out of that meeting and he had asked the board to do their own enquiry into the allegations. He said he intended to visit the home shortly to meet with staff and the children of the home.
Bishop Berkley assured that measures would be put in place to prevent any further re-occurrence of the sexual assaults. He said there were remedial measures that could be put in place but staff at the institution must accept some form of responsibility for not ensuring proper supervision at the home.
Yesterday, parents of some of the affected children threatened legal action against those responsible for their care.