Petition seeks dismissal of officers in sex abuse investigation

An online petition has been circulated asking Cayman Islands Governor Helen Kilpatrick to change the way local police handle child sex abuse cases in the wake of a court verdict last week that cited a “grossly incompetent” investigation by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

The petition, filed by Caymanian Sandra Hill, also asks that the officers responsible for the handling of a particular sex abuse case, involving an 11-year-old victim, be dismissed.

“These failures are so fundamental … that there should be no other ultimate response but the lawful dismissal of responsible staff,” the petition states.

A Grand Court judge found two defendants – relatives of the girl – not guilty following a non-jury trial in which it was revealed that police inexplicably delayed an investigation into the case for 18 months and lost initial notes taken by the investigating officer.

Justice Timothy Owen, who delivered the verdict in the case Thursday morning, called the police investigation into the alleged sexual assault “grossly incompetent.”

The petition asks that the governor’s office convene a committee to review the creation of a separate commissioner to handle child sexual abuse cases to “independently oversee all aspects of child abuse allegations through all stages.”

The petition also advocates that government create a sex offender registry to be maintained by the child sexual abuse commissioner.

Earlier this year, the creation of Cayman’s first Child Safeguarding board was announced at the opening of the Grand Court. Governor Kilpatrick has said that board will provide “an effective mechanism” to coordinate child protection issues among social workers, police and other public agencies.