Fire station sex assault report release ordered

Information commissioner tells gov’t to make it public

Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert
ordered the Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development this week to release an
internal report on how the Fire Service dealt with a sexual assault complaint
from a female fire officer.

The victim, a fire officer at the Cayman Brac
fire station, initially complained about sexual misconduct of two male fellow
fire fighters to the Cayman Islands Fire Service in February 2007. Dorian
Hunter, a male colleague of the victim, was subsequently jailed for 18 months in
February 2009 on four counts of indecent assault that occurred between November
and December 2006.

This led to the commission of a report of the
allegations made by the victim, as well as a review of whether the environment
within the Fire Service was a suitable one for female officers.

The ministry had refused to release the report
in response to a Freedom of Information request filed by the Caymanian Compass.

Mrs. Dilbert’s decision grants partial access
to the report, allowing the ministry to redact parts of it, including the
victim’s name and details of the inquiry into sexual harassment.

In December 2010, in response to the Compass’s
request, the ministry provided a list of nine measures the Fire Services
Department had undertaken as a result of the review, but would not release the
report itself, saying it was subject to legal professional
privilege.

The Fire Service’s Chief Fire Officer first
began an investigation into the victim’s allegation a month after she filed her
complaint, but that was suspended in May 2007 when police began a criminal
investigation.

In October 2009, the victim filed a civil suit
seeking damages from the government, which is believed to be still pending. This
civil suit was the basis of the legal privilege cited by the ministry in
refusing to release the report.

The ministry has 45 days to appeal the
Information Commissioner’s decision.

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