Renewed call for child sex offenders to be named

Date: 2013-01-26
Source: Royal Gazette

Renewed call for child sex offenders to be named

By Elizabeth Roberts
Published Jan 26, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 25, 2013 at 10:27 pm)

Campaigners have reacted with concern to news of an elderly man who was jailed for four years for sexually abusing a daughter adopted from a developing country.

Magistrates’ Court heard on Wednesday that the perpetrator has a history of sexual and violent offences against women and children dating back to 1954.

The girl came forward and reported the crimes — committed when she was aged eight and nine — after reading about another child abuse case in the newspaper.

The man, who cannot be identified in order to protect the anonymity of his victim, protested his innocence. However, he was convicted after a trial of two charges of sexually touching her while in a position of trust.

Campaign group SCARS (Saving Children And Revealing Secrets) described the case as tragic.

“Our heart and prayers go out to the innocent trusting child victim and the affected family. We applaud the courage of both the child and the responsible adult for exposing and reporting this horrible crime to the authorities,” said the group in a statement.

It added that it is important for victims to see offenders held accountable for their actions.

“With regards to the length of time allocated to the sentence, we have to remember that the victim has been given a life sentence through no fault of her own. As such, the current sentence is not severe enough in light of the details of the case and past sexual offences of the paedophile. We feel that the community should advocate for legislative changes to strengthen the laws to eliminate inconsistencies and loopholes and strengthen penalties to deter paedophiles or potential paedophiles.”

Sheelagh Cooper of the Coalition for the Protection of Children said: “The facts of this case underscore again our continued push for the names of convicted child sexual offenders to be published, and therefore become part of the public domain, allowing organisations like the Coalition for the Protection of Children and the Women's Resource Centre to maintain a register of sex offenders available to the public.

“This was a campaign promise of the One Bermuda Alliance, and we very much look forward to seeing the legislative change that would allow the names of these predictors to be published.

“Having said that, we respect the right of the victim or the victim’s family to prevent such publication, but in the 20 years that I have been involved with victims of sexual abuse, I have never met a victim or a family of a victim that would have wanted to protect the identity of the perpetrator.

“Had this serial offender’s name been published all along over the many years of his pattern of offences there is every chance that this could have been prevented. The bottom line is that it is time to stop protecting the identity of sex offenders at the expense of protecting the public, and worse still at the expense of protecting our children.”

Useful websites: www.scarsbermuda.com, www.coalition.bm.

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