“LEAVE the girls alone,” is the strong message of a High Court judge to “grown, hard-back men who ought to know better and do better” as she sentenced a Tunapuna man for raping his two teenage nieces in 2014.
“There are simply too many reports of missing teenage girls who are later discovered to have been in the presence of fully-grown men, and sometimes women… And during their time away – whether they went of their own accord or willingly participated – engage in intercourse between adult men and children...What is so difficult to understand? Despite their immaturity, their infatuations and their underdeveloped awareness of their sexuality and how ‘forward’ they may seem, grown hard-back men ought to know better and do better. You are not helpless.
“Drop the girls back home or at a police station. They are not convenient opportunities or toys. Any girl under 18 is a child. I denounce the rhetoric that after 12 is lunch. It is blatant criminality and absolutely despicable.
“A message must be sent by sentencing judges: leave the girls alone. Leave the girls alone,” were the harsh words of Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds during her sentencing on Wednesday.
The Basilon Street man sentenced appeared virtually before Ramsumair-Hinds. Before his sentencing, he said he was sorry and that what he did was a mistake.
“Nothing like that will ever happen again.”
He was sentenced for each of the two counts of having sexual intercourse with his nieces who were 12 and 15 years old at the time of the offence on November 16, 2014.
He received his discount for his guilty plea and the 2,978 days he spent in custody before being sentenced to ten years and nine which will run concurrently. He has one year, ten months and three days left to serve.
Ramsumair-Hinds also ordered that he report as a sexual offender for five years, six times a year, or once every two months, seven days after he is discharged from prison.
A copy of the court’s order will be immediately sent to the Police Commissioner so that in 14 days his name can be published on the public sex offender website.
At his plea in mitigation last Thursday, assistant prosecutor Danielle Thompson read out the victim impact statements of the cousins in which they admitted they still had not yet healed from the incident.
The younger cousin said her innocence was taken from her although some people have blamed her for what took place. She was a virgin when the incident took place.
“People said it was my fault.” She said she felt pain, anger and powerlessness, both then and now.
“I cannot get back what was taken from me. I feel anger.” The now 21-year-old said she has not yet forgiven the accused and also expressed fear for her safety.
“I want to be happy and safe.”
The elder cousin said she endured what “no child should experience.” The incident has left her psychologically and physically scarred, she admitted. She also has trust issues and has turned to drugs. “I want it all over. It made me into a person I do not like.”
She said she did not hate her attacker but was disappointed in him and wants to use her experience to help others.
“I did not deserve what transpired,” she said but said she was grateful for life.
The facts presented by the prosecution which were accepted by the accused were that on November 14, 2014, the two girls agreed to run away after one of the girls got into an argument with her father. They then called their uncle to ask if they could stay at his home. He agreed. They met him at City Gate in Port of Spain and he took them to his home.
After they got there, the older girl went outside and the accused began interfering with the 12-year-old who tried to fight him off. She was held down and he raped her.
Her cousin heard her sounds of pain. Later that night, they went to bed when the older girl felt the accused touching her. He performed oral sex on her and then raped her. In the morning, he assaulted her, leaving marks on her breast and neck. The accused then left money for them to use for transport and food before leaving to go to work.
Later that day, they went to Curepe where they met with the mother of the older girl and the younger girl’s stepfather. The incident was reported to the police and they were taken to the hospital.
When arrested, the accused told the police he had sex with the cousins but didn’t rape them. “They wanted it.”
Attorney Shervon Noreiga represented the accused.