Physical Education Teacher Nicholas Benjamin, who is facing 2 charges of Sexual Assault against a 14-year-old secondary school girl, has been granted bail in the sum of $30, 000 with 2 sureties.
The 37-year-old, who is employed with a popular secondary school on the island was arrested late last week Tuesday and charged for the offences the following day.
Benjamin has retained the services of Attorney-at-Law Derick Sylvester to assist him in the matter when he appeared for the first-time last week Thursday before Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill at the St. George’s No. 1 Magistrate’s Court.
As part of his bail conditions, the H.A. Blaize Street resident was ordered not to have any contact with the witnesses or complainant in the matter, report to Central Police Station every Wednesday between the hours of 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. and to request permission from the court to travel out of state.
Benjamin is due back in court on December 17.
The Physical Education trainer is one of five persons to be arrested and charged by police within the last three weeks for a number of sexual offences allegedly committed against two 14-year-old girls, during the July-August school holidays.
The other accused persons, who have also posted bail amounts, have been identified as Secondary School Coach Lee Cuffie, 34, from Vincennes, St. David ($35, 000 bail), Alfred Bishop, a 22-year-old construction worker from Hope, St. Andrew, ($50, 000 bail), 37-year-old Roof Installer Roger Louison from Grand Anse ($50, 000 bail) and 19-year-old Arnold Brathwaite, an unemployed resident of Grand Bacolet ($50, 000).
Louison is facing four indictable counts of Sexual Intercourse with a female above 13 and under 16, while Brathwaite is facing three counts.
Bishop was slapped with two Sexual Assault charges, while Lee is facing Indecent Assault and Sexual Assault charges and one Sexual Intercourse with a female above 13 and under 16.
Police investigators are also looking for a 6th suspect who has been identified as a 28-year-old boat captain from the sister isle of Petite Martinique.
Louison, Bishop and Brathwaite will make their second court appearance on December 7 at the St. David’ Magistrate’s Court, while Cuffie will appear before the St. George’s Magistrate’s Court on December 10.
Information reaching THE NEW TODAY is that both Benjamin and Cuffie are employed with the same institution and have been back to work as normal to the discomfort of some students and parents.
The school was contacted on Tuesday by this newspaper but officials there have been very reluctant to confirm the status of the accused men.
However, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Finley Jeffery has confirmed that both individuals continue to work as normal pending due process.
“The Ministry of Education is currently going through due process. We are awaiting the charge sheets and a letter would be written to the Public Service Commission (PSC) to make a decision,” PS Jeffery told THE NEW TODAY on Tuesday.
“The PSC has responsibility to take disciplinary action…we are taking due process and the PSC will make the necessary decision,” he added.
The arrest of the five accused sex offenders came at the same time as the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) launched the Special Victims Unit and Sexual Abuse Hotline in an attempt to address the festering issue in the country.