A Bodden Town teenager who worked as special support aide in the Cayman Islands government school system faces 10 charges of indecent assault relating to seven female victims, all of whom are minors.
The alleged offenses described in the charges are connected with the 19-year-old man’s position at a government primary school, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service reported Friday.
The man was named in court lists made public last week and appeared in the court dock Tuesday, July 7, on an indecent assault charge. The Cayman Compass is not naming him or the school where he worked in order to prevent potential identification of the victims.
The government Ministry of Education said it received the first report of “possible sexual abuse” against the primary school students on Nov. 27, 2014.
“In this case, we can confirm that the special support aide resigned before being put on required leave and is therefore no longer an employee of the Department of Education Services,” the ministry statement read.
The ministry statement indicated the former aide charged in the indecent assault cases went through the typical background check procedure required of all employees in the public education system and had “good references and a clean police record” at the time he was hired.
RCIPS spokesperson Jacqueline Carter said Friday that the school initially reported the case to government social services. That department then referred the matter to police. The man was arrested on June 25. He is due in court again on Aug. 6.
The Ministry of Education said it is reviewing its current reporting procedures for suspected child abuse incidents in light of this case.
“The Child Protection Reporting Procedures, which were established in 2013, outline the responsibility and actions necessary by education staff within the first 24 hours of an alleged case of abuse,” the ministry statement read. “It should be noted that it is not the responsibility of the Cayman Islands government education system to investigate alleged cases of abuse but rather our responsibility [is] to report the information and hand the case over to the Family Services Unit and the Department of Children and Family Services for them to carry out the official investigation.
“In light of the recent events, this procedure is under review to ensure that it is meeting all requirements for ensuring the safety of our students and that the process meets the needs of all involved.”
Reporting of disclosed or suspected abuse/neglect of children to Cayman Islands authorities is mandated under the local Children Law (2012 Revision). Penalties for not doing so can result in fines and imprisonment upon conviction.