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Stepdad on rape charges

By AZARD ALI Monday, December 16 2013

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A MAN from Central Trinidad has been charged by the police with raping his three stepdaughters. The charges were laid yesterday at the Gran Couva Police Station, against the 30-year-old man, who will today appear in the Couva Magistrates’ Court where the charges would be read to him.

The charges alleged that the man, a labourer, who lived with his common law wife and her three daughters, raped the girls aged 12, 14 and 18, on numerous occasions spanning a two- year period.

For assaulting his 12 and 14-year-old stepdaughters, the man was charged with having sex with a minor under the age of 14. Sexual intercourse with a person under 14 is commonly referred to as Statutory rape, because according to the Sexual Offence Act, a female under 14 is not of age to give consent. A person who commits an act of sexual indecency against a girl of that age, cannot plead consent was given. Police officers described the arrest of the man and all of the charges laid, as perhaps the first case of rape in Trinidad and Tobago in which three sisters in one family, were raped and sexually abused by one predator. Regarding the assault on the eldest sister, the stepfather was charged with rape.

According to a report, the 12, 14 and 18-year-old girls lived in a one-bedroom house in Central Trinidad together with their 51-year-old mother and the stepfather. The elder stepdaughter celebrated her 18th birthday in July. A police report stated that the 18-year-old visited the Gran Couva Police Station on Friday morning last. There, she spoke to female police officers about the two years of rapes she and her sisters endured at the hands of their stepfather.

According to the police report, the stepfather would often have sex with the minors at night while his common law wife slept.

Police sources added while he was able to coerce the younger sisters into having sex with him, the man had to force himself on the eldest stepdaughter who at times fought with him. Police sources added only two weeks ago, the eldest stepdaughter was raped by the man.

Police sources added when coercion did not work with the younger sisters, the man used threats to cow them into submission. Two years of abuse ended, police said, when the 18-year- old left home and went to live at a friend’s house.

It was there the 18-year-old confided to her friend what had been taking place. The friend advised the teen to report the matter to the police saying that apart from sexual assault, the very lives of her (the teen victim) two other sisters who were still staying in the house with their stepfather were affected.

On Saturday last at about 11 am, a party of police officers which included Cpl Lalbeharry, WPC Alicia Soodeen and PCs Husband and Boodoo swooped down on the house and after questioning the 12 and 14-year-old girls, arrested the stepfather.

The three sisters were taken from the house to a medical institution where they were medically examined by Dr Babu Reddy who later submitted a report to police.

Police sources said the man was formally charged with several counts of having unlawful sex with a minor under the age of 14 and rape. Charges were laid by WPC Soodeen. Officers of the Police Service’s Victims’ Support Unit are planning to hold counselling sessions with the victims.

The man is now a prisoner at the Gran Couva Police Station.

Police officers told Newsday yesterday that no charges have been laid against anyone else but added investigations are continuing. Officers added that if investigations warrant it, charges of failing to report a crime could be laid.

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