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Tuesday 11 December 2018
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US Embassy keeping close watch

Rape of American girl

RETAINED: Attorney Gerald Ramdeen who has been retained to seek the interests of an American girl, 4, who claims she was raped by the son of a former government minister.
RETAINED: Attorney Gerald Ramdeen who has been retained to seek the interests of an American girl, 4, who claims she was raped by the son of a former government minister.

NALINEE SEELAL

THE American Embassy at Marli Street, Port of Spain is said to be taking a close and personal interest in investigations into the rape of a four-year-old American child by the son of a former government Minister. Officials contacted the child’s mother on Wednesday to say the embassy will ensure that all agencies involved will do their job.

On Wednesday the mother told Newsday she is deeply concerned after she heard nothing from the Children’s Authority who are supposed to provide a psychologist to assess her daughter before the suspect perpetrator could be interviewed.

The mother has retained attorney Gerald Ramdeen to contact the American Embassy, the Children’s Authority and the Child Protection Unit to ensure the investigation is not stalled and the child’s interest is kept.

Ramdeen spoke with officials there on Wednesday to give them all the information about the alleged rape of the girl, a US citizen.

Around 3 pm on Wednesday the child’s mother received a call from the Embassy.

Also on Wednesday, after Newsday’s story on the sexual assault went online, a social worker from the Children’s Authority contacted the mother and asked to meet with the victim for an interview. The social worker met with the girl shortly after 6 pm on Wednesday and asked her about the alleged attack. The little girl provided information about what occurred on Father’s Day last month at the home of the alleged paedophile.

The social worker took down the information and promised that all will be done to speed up the investigation.

The child’s mother received a third call, from the Child Protection Unit, who asked her to take the child to meet with a psychologist from the Children’s Authority who will do an assessment using an anatomically detailed doll to show exactly what was done to her, using the doll to demonstrate.

After this assessment the Child Protection Unit will be able to move forward with the investigation and the alleged perpetrator will be questioned.

Yesterday the girl remained traumatised at her home in South, but her mother said she feels a little relieved that following the Newsday exposé her daughter may soon be getting justice.

“I know that I cannot erase what happened to my daughter, but what I can do is to ensure she gets justice and that other children are protected from this man.”

She said because the suspect is a close relative, many other relatives have been asking her to rethink her decision to contact the police, but she remained adamant that her daughter never deserved to have such a horrible crime inflicted on her.

“She was defenceless, she could not overpower that predator, and I was not there to protect her. But I want young mothers out there to understand that even close relatives could be sexual predators and they should be careful with whom they leave their children.

She said her daughter’s father, a US citizen, will be in the country over the weekend and is anxious to secure justice for his daughter.

Newsday contacted chairman of the Children’s Authority Hanif Benjamin on Wednesday for an update on the investigation by the Children’s Authority, but he said he was awaiting information before making a statement.

Shortly before midday yesterday, Shemelle Paradice, senior communications associate of the Children’s Authority, issued a statement denying the authority it “failed to action” the case.

It said the authority did not receive the report three weeks ago, but on July 7, after a request for assistance in advancing the police investigation.

When the incident was reported in the media on July 11, the Emergency Response Team of the authority had already begun investigating, ensured the child was no longer in danger and was now working closely with the mother.

The authority further denied reports that a psychologist was not available to interview the child and said in fact, the forensic interview was scheduled on the date specifically requested by the police, based on their availability. In order to substantiate allegations of abuse, it said, the authority collaborates with the police on forensic interviews, to avoid repeat disclosures and re-traumatisation of victims of child abuse.

It added, “As with all other matters concerning children coming to its attention, thea uthority is treating the matter with the confidentiality and sensitivity it deserves.”

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