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Monday 19 November 2018
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EX-SENATOR ON SEX CHARGES

NALINEE SEELAL

AN EX-SENATOR who served in the Upper House as recently as January spent last night in a cold cell inside the Belmont Police Station and will today appear in the Port of Spain Magistrates Courts on two charges of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old schoolgirl who came to his apartment seeking advice.

The 43-year-old man, during an interview with police, said he sat in Parliament as recently as January and also served last year. He has been charged with indecent assault and sexual penetration of the teenager at his home in West Trinidad. The ex-senator was charged by WPC Dorman of the Western Division Child Protection Unit (CPU).

The man was detained by CPU officers led by Inspector Sean Coggins and Sgt Christopher Arun on Wednesday. He was interviewed for several hours at the Four Roads Police Station and later taken to the Belmont Police Station where he remained up to press time.

The schoolgirl reported to police that last week Thursday, she was at the home of relatives who are tenants in an apartment complex owned by the ex-senator. She went to the upper part of the building, where the man lives, to get his advice on something. The teen claimed that while in the man’s home she was overpowered and sexually assaulted.

The frightened teen reported the matter to relatives who took her to the Four Roads Police Station where a report was made. She was medically examined by the District Medical Officer.

The man told police he was appointed a temporary senator earlier this year and claimed he had no knowledge of the teenager’s claim. He will appear before a Port-of-Spain magistrate today.

The arrest and charging of the ex-senator is the latest attack on the nation’s innocents and came amid revelations by an officer of the CPU that the police have noted that sexual penetration and sexual touching are the highest and second highest types of assault perpetrated against minors within recent years.

At the police’s weekly press briefing on Wednesday at Police Administration Building in Port of Spain, Sgt Michelle Lewis of the CPU said the the number of offences committed against children continues to be a great source of concern for the TT Police Service.

“When we look at the statistics, we see that sexual penetration against a child carries more than 60 per cent of all reported attacks on minors over the years 2015, 2016 and 2017. We see that sexual touching is the second highest prevailing offence and we have also seen cruelty against a child as the third most highest,” Sgt Lewis said.

Her concerns came on the heels of Chairman of the Children’s Authority Hanif Benjamin revealing that since the authority came into existence three years ago, it has had cause to investigate over 13,500 cases of crimes committed against the nation’s youth.

Delivering the sermon at the St Paul’s Anglican Church on Harris Promenade in San Fernando on the weekend, Benjamin said, “our data is showing sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect are the most prevalent...the highest numbers. But what is heart breaking about that, is that the data also shows that the very people charged with the responsibility of loving, caring and protecting our young ones, are the ones hurting our children.”

He added that for every incident of abuse or assault against a child is made known to the Authority, another four cases goes unreported.

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