Police Charge Deacon and Teens Implicated in Sexual Assault Case

RJR [Jamaica]
July 11, 2006

The police have charged the church deacon and two teenaged boys implicated in the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl.

Lawyers representing the deacon and the two boys appeared in the Half-Way-Tree Resident Magistrate's Court on Tuesday where one of the attorneys filed an application for the deacon and one of the boys to be charged or released.

The attorney representing the other boy did not file an application as he said, based on the question and answer, he expected his client to be charged and brought before the Court on Tuesday.

But police investigators told the court that following questioning on Monday, the deacon, 47-year-old Donavon James otherwise called "Uncle Jimmy", 18-year-old James Rodgers and a 15-year-old boy were charged.

They are scheduled to appear in Court on Wednesday.

Investigators also told the court that another teenager is now in custody and being questioned.

He could be charged on Wednesday.

The four were taken into custody after the police received a copy of a compact disc showing the school girl being forcefully restrained and fondled by at least three teenagers.

It is alleged that the deacon went to pick up one of the boys at a St. Andrew school and offered a ride to the girl and the other boys.

Images on the compact disc show the girl being fondled in the moving van despite her protests.

She is also heard calling for help while she was being restrained and assaulted by the boys.

It is alleged that the deacon, who was driving the van, did not to stop the assault and failed to report it to the police.

In the meantime, a senior government official has entered the growing debate over allegations that the 13-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by teenaged boys while an adult church member watched.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice, A.J. Nicholson, stayed clear of any direct comment on the case, which is headed to court, but he took a swipe at leaders of the church at the centre of the controversy.

Mr. Nicholson noted that the alleged assault of a minor was by no means a church matter but a serious offence punishable under the law.

And the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) says even as it regrets the sexual assault of the teenager, it is calling for quick and decisive action against persons who abuse children.

JLP Spokesperson on Children Affairs, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, says this displays the need for the rigorous application of the Child Care and Protection Act which makes the reporting of incidents of this nature mandatory.


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