The family of a child who was the victim of sex crimes continues to cry out for justice, after a Magistrate set the perpetrator free with a fine and a suspended sentence.
They are particularly hurt by the reaction of certain Parliamentarians who have condemned public outcry against the court ruling.
In early April, 36 year-old Michael Alexander of Waltham, St Mark pleaded guilty to indecent assault and received what is being viewed as a slap on the wrist – a fine of $3, 200 and a suspended prison sentence of one year.
But relatives have vowed not to stop in their fight for justice for the child who was less than four years old at the time she was being sexually molested by Alexander.
During a sitting of the House of Representatives last week Tuesday, Social Development Minister Delma Thomas suggested that by publicly advocating for the victim, the public was putting her at further risk of exposure and trauma.
However the family members have reacted strongly to the minister’s comments, saying that it is the police, the court and the law that have failed the child.
“These are the kinds of people we have running the country,” the grandmother said. She said she intends to publicly address the minister directly when she is less angry at the way the situation unfolded.
“They did not save the child, they placed a monetary price on her innocence,” she said.
According to sources close to the situation, the Child Protection Authority (CPA) will open its own investigation, starting with a round of medical tests.
The family is hoping that someone will stand up for the victim and the investigation in the crime can be reopened.
Family members alleged that the infant contracted a sexually transmitted disease and they were told by a doctor that it could have been only through sexual contact.
Alexander, on the advice of his attorney Andre Thomas, pleaded guilty, avoiding a trial, for an offense that could have landed him in jail for five to fifteen years.
Persons in the area where Alexander lives have reported that he continues to live his life as if nothing happened, working as a fisherman, which is his profession.
The family is also disputing claims that Alexander is not a fully functioning adult. They said he works as a fishing boat captain and no medical evidence was presented to back up the claim in court.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Alexander had admitted his actions when confronted by the child’s family members and attempted to pay his way out.
The family is also outraged that Magistrate Teddy St Louis attempted to award a monetary compensation to the family which they declined.
“Not even a day in jail he received,” the grandmother agonised. She said at the same court people have been jailed for stealing coconuts.
The family believes that while child sexual abuse laws need to be stronger, it was poor police investigating and a weak prosecution of the matter which resulted in Alexander not going to jail.
He had admitted to “touching” the infant with his finger on one occasion and it is based on his confession that the matter was brought to court.
The Prosecution reportedly did not present any other evidence apart from the statements given by the family and the child.
When interviewed by CID officers, the victim was able to recount about eighteen different times when Alexander had touched, licked and fingered her vagina.
However, no medical report was included in the case files, despite at least one doctor reporting evidence of the claims made by the child.
The family members are of the opinion that the police investigators took the easy way out, relying only on the confession of one incident to mount their case.
Alexander is said to have been molesting the child for months before the situation became known.
At the time he was between jobs as a fishing captain and was engaged as a caregiver for two members of the family with special needs.
Part of his duties was to get the child off to pre-school and to supervise her when she came home, while her mother worked.
“I want to see this guy behind bars where he belongs,” said one family member.
They also believe that MP for the area Dr Clarice Modeste-Curwen has also let them down, showing to give support to the family only after the outrageous sentence became a viral topic on social media.
The MP is said to have told the mother of the child that while she believes the Magistrate’s judgement is wrong she could not say so publicly and there is nothing she could do.
However, she did give a new round of assurances that as a government, steps would be taken to deal with Grenada’s escalating child sexual abuse crisis.
The family is calling on the police and the Child Protection Authority and the State to take steps to remedy what they are calling a travesty of justice.