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No system to profile sex offenders

By COREY CONNELLY Monday, February 22 2016

Is there a system in Trinidad and Tobago to profile sex offenders? This is the question that has surfaced in the wake of the death of alleged sex predator Che Callender, 31, whose cellular phone was discovered recently to have contained images of a five-year-old girl performing oral sex on him .

Callender’s body was found hanging by his neck from a rope tied to a mango tree near Navet Public Cemetery, Princes Town, on February 5, in what appeared to be a suicide .

Police said Callender, who, from all accounts led a double life, had also been charged with the rape of a 50-year-old woman in 2010, a matter still pending in the Princes Town Magistrates’ Court .

Following Callender’s death, Princes Town MP Barry Padarath renewed calls for the introduction of a sex offenders registry as a matter of priority, lamenting that there appeared to be a prevalence of sexual assault of youngsters by adults .

Newsday learnt, however, that in the absence of a registry, there are no significant structures in place to chronicle and monitor patterns of behaviour in sex offenders .

Criminologist Ian Ramdhanie said this country has not made “any effective dent” in the profiling of sex offenders .

“One can reasonably conclude that there is a general absence of sex offender profiles in Trinidad and Tobago,” he told Newsday .

Ramdhanie said while the Police Service and the Children’s Authority (although the latter has just gotten off the ground) were two of the organisations that should be involved in the profiling of sex offenders, this method of sex crime prevention and solving has not taken on a serious role in T&T .

He noted that sex profiling was already a common practice in other police jurisdictions in many developed countries .

Lack of human and financial resources hampering process Principal of the Caribbean Institute for Security and Public Safety, Ramdhanie said, though, that the country’s ability to effectively profile sex offenders was hampered by several factors, including the lack of available human and financial resources to perform the task .

“With respect to human resources, we are yet to see the Sex Offences Unit or Task Force in the TTPS .

Is it that they don’t have the manpower to staff this unit, persons may not have the requisite specialist technical skills?” he asked .

With respect to financial resources to facilitate such a system, the criminologist observed that more serious crimes like homicide, shootings and drug trafficking were given priority .

Ramdhanie said sex offences may not be viewed as a high priority crime in comparison to homicide and other street crimes like shootings and drug trafficking .

He suggested that there may also be a lack of collaboration between police and prison to undertake the task of profiling sex offenders .

“No one is leading the charge to bring all parties together including the police, prison, Children’s Authority and NGO’s like the Rape Crisis Society, researchers and policy- makers,” Ramdhanie claimed .

He added that there was a lack of national consensus and cry-out for serious action to be taken by all stakeholders. “It is only when a person or family is affected, then some piecemeal attention is drawn,” Ramdhanie said. Even so, Ramdhanie said sex offenders were very difficult to profile and often targeted several categories of victims, including children and adults and senior citizens, like grandparents .

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