A well-known mechanic who is accused of having a sexual encounter with a girl aged eight, continues to conduct his normal business in the town of Highgate, central St Mary, while local police claim they are searching for him.
The victim, who attends a primary school, received treatment at hospital as a result of the heinous act that has left some members of the Highgate community and surrounding areas in shock. It was confirmed yesterday that she has since been discharged from the Port Maria Hospital.
The incident occurred about two weeks ago when the man visited the child’s house in a community near to Highgate and allegedly engaged in the sexual act with her. A relative of the girl saw the accused man performing oral sex on her and immediately alerted another relative who both saw the man continuing that and other sexual acts. The Jamaica Observer could not determine whether or not the relatives called out to the molester, or urged him to desist.
The Sunday Observer learnt that a verbal report was made to the Highgate police by one of the relatives, and a team from the station visited the man’s house in Highgate last Tuesday with a view to taking him in for questioning in relation to the act, but he fled.
A woman and three small children who were at the house with him were detained by the police for questioning, but were later released. Later reports said that the woman who was questioned by police was the mother of the child. She declined to press charges against the accused man, as they are said to be romantically involved.
However, some of the child’s relatives are up in arms with the mother and have threatened to take the matter to the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) if nothing is done to adequately deal with the suspect.
In the meantime, some residents of the community told the Sunday Observer that the man returned to the house the same evening that the police went in search of him and has been operating as normal since.
“Di man just a laugh after the Highgate police dem,” one resident told the Sunday Observer. “From the same day dem go a him house and nuh find him, the man come back and the police can’t hold him yet. When the police go for him and never catch him dem tek out the keys out of him car, but him find a way fi start the vehicle the same day and drive it round the place. Dem always a send the worse set a police dem come a Highgate, and dem don’t even know how fi arrest anybody.”
A man who has lived in the town for over 50 years said that the police were moving at snail’s pace in apprehending the suspect.
“The guy is popular in the area. He works on several motor vehicles, and has even done work on police service vehicles, so he is well known,” the man said.
“I have heard of terrible crimes committed in Highgate, but the rape of an eight-year-old child has to be the worst thing,” another community elder said. “This is not the first time that we are hearing of this guy molesting the same girl and these things must stop, man; we cannot run a country this way when our little girls, and in some cases, our boys, are being introduced from early into these dreadful sexual acts.”
Head of the St Mary police, Superintendent Stephanie Lyndsay, told the Sunday Observer that she was unaware of the incident, but promised to check it out and inform the newspaper of her findings.
When the Sunday Observer checked with the Highgate Police Station on Friday, a policeman on duty said that he could not speak to the matter, and his superiors were not at the location. A subsequent call made to the station yesterday produced the following words from a woman who claimed to be a district constable:
“Nutten no go so. Maybe you get the information wrong. It’s not an eight-year-old, the girl is 10, and it wasn’t anything like rape … it was more like indecent assault, because he fingered her. So I don’t know about that. But I cannot release any information to you, you would have to talk to the sub-officer and they are not here at the moment.”
Highgate has, historically, been associated with low levels of crime and criminal activities over many years, but in recent time concern has been expressed by residents about the reported high number of illegal guns that have landed in the town, incidents of housebreaking, larceny, murder and the haphazard manner in which drivers of public passenger vehicles conduct themselves on the narrow roads in the town.