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8 girls scarred for life, says parent

Thursday, March 20 2014

THE father of one of eight schoolgirls sexually assaulted at Mayaro Government Primary School, on Monday, has said the violations have scarred the girls for life.

The father yesterday related how his seven-year-old daughter was inappropriately touched by a man who entered the school compound. The suspect remains at large and police have launched a manhunt for him.

The father said his daughter has been weeping a lot especially when anyone questioned her about what happened at school.

“That man violated those girls and scarred them for life. My daughter is not talking much. She has become very quiet and is not functioning how she is accustomed to. I am going in town (Port-of-Spain) tomorrow, somewhere to seek help on how to deal with this,” the father said.

He said it has become a challenge for him to communicate with his daughter, who up to Monday morning when she left home for school, was very bubbly. “When I am speaking with her, she is only telling little bits of information then starts to cry. I cannot get to her yet. I asking her what happen, trying to get details about what happened, but she is crying in between,” he said.

On Monday, a man dressed in what pupils described as a CEPEP uniform inappropriately touched the girls at the school at Plaisance Road, Mayaro. The incident occurred at about midday. Police investigators said pupils reported the man was brandishing a knife before escaping. Police are yet to confirm whether the suspect is employed with CEPEP or whether it was someone dressed in clothing similar to the CEPEP uniform.

The father said CEPEP workers were cutting and cleaning around the compound and so the man may have been easily disguised as one of the workers. “Based on what I heard, the man did not interfere with them all at once. He committed the acts all over the compound. He interfered with my daughter at the gate of the school compound near the security booth. She was sitting with a friend when he raised their uniforms and touched their private parts,” the father added.

Medical examinations done at the Rio Claro Health Facility, on Monday evening, confirmed eight girls were sexually assaulted, three of whom had bruises on their private parts, said investigators.

The father noted some of the school’s staff initially ignored the complaints from the young victims who are between five and ten years old.

“It was like a secret until yesterday (Tuesday) when it started circulating on the media and in the community, people really begun to talk about it. The teachers were supposed to have dealt with the issue when the first child went to make the report. It was only when the reports began to come in one after another, they started to take the reports seriously,” he charged.

He said he daughter does not want to go back to school and he is considering seeking a transfer for her. He said no one from the Education Ministry has contacted him about the incident.

Classes continued at the school yesterday however the victims and other traumatised students were absent. One five-year-old student said she is fearful of returning to school. The child did not attend classes on Monday but when she went to school the following day, other pupils were scared the man would return and harm them. The girl said she was told by a boy that a “raperman” was coming. “We got frightened and started to run and bawl. I tell miss on him and she beat him. I do not want to go back to school,” the girl said. Her aunt admitted residents were concerned about the safety of the students but said her niece will return to classes on Monday. A senior police officer from the Eastern Division said patrols have been increased to ensure the safety of the schoolchildren.

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