A story of child sexual abuse spanning more than two decades is unfolding on the island of Carriacou.
At the centre of the allegations is a 55 year old male teacher of a secondary school who is currently being investigated by the police and Child Protection Authority.
The investigation was launched after a parent of a female student at the school got the authorities involved when it was discovered that the teacher had been sending scores of sexually explicit messages to the student on a message app.
As a result of the outcry, details have been emerging of multiple incidents of sexual abuse and grooming allegedly committed by the teacher.
Our investigation has revealed that senior officials within the school district and law enforcement officers had been informed of the situation as far back as 1997 but the allegations had never been investigated or acted upon.
Among the reports being linked to the teacher is the pregnancy of a 13 year old girl who was forced to drop out of the school in Form Two as a result. The matter was investigated but no one was charged.
Another woman who says she was groomed and then raped by the teacher at the age of 14 has been trying to bring attention to the situation and had reported to senior officials within the school and the Ministry of Education in 2013.
In a recent interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper she said, “What I can say to you is that he (name of teacher) is a very dishonest individual. Very deceptive and evil. He is a paedophile. Takes advantage of young girls who are vulnerable. I once was in that category and was his victim.”
The alleged abuse took place while he was her teacher and went on for years into her adulthood.
“He was my Physics and Electronics teacher within the period 1996 to 1997 and even after he resigned he was still assisting us. He also had private classes at his home which many students attended.
She said when the matter was reported by her mother when she was a teenager she did not cooperate because at the time she was unaware that she was the victim of a crime.
“The matter was reported by my mother to Social Services. They came once but I was silent and they never came back. Plus it got really complicated and I remained in a relationship with him for years not fully understanding that a crime was committed against me. In Carriacou, it seems to be the norm or should I say Grenada”.
In 1997 the teacher resigned but he was rehired in 2014.
Another concerned citizen on the island said, “There’s a track record of (teacher’s name) interfering with his students. He told me ‘if I am going down they (principal and other senior officials) are all going down’.
“He was removed from the classroom because of allegations and there are students who are willing to testify in the court. Other parents reported to the principal but no action was taken.”
At the time, concerned citizens made a case to the school about why he should not return to the classroom however the warnings were ignored.
“We went to the school with a whole file on the man to tell the principal they shouldn’t hire him and the next Monday he was back in the classroom. All the principal care about is the Maths grades,” one person said in an interview.
There are also claims that the teacher has been saying recently that if he gets into trouble over the allegations then so will the school principal, and persons who are angry about the situation are saying they take that to mean the principal was aware that abuse of students has been happening.
In this latest incident over six hundred printed pages of messages sent to the 15 year old student have been recovered, most related to her body. The messages date back to April 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The family have retained legal counsel in order to ensure the matter is investigated and the Minister of Education has been informed through a letter, though there has been no response from her office.
During the course of our investigation we were given the names of half a dozen teenagers who received sexually explicit messages from the teacher and who had been sexually molested by him.
It also appears that other parents had reported directly to the school principal and the Vice Principal was also informed when another teacher discovered messages on a student’s phone.
“I can tell you that when I was to return to my work as teacher of (name of school withheld), I informed the principal (name of principal withheld) of my experience, which he claimed that he was not aware of. He stated that there was no evidence to make such a claim.
“I was very uncomfortable returning to work because of his presence on the job which I verbally reported to (name withheld) who was the CEO (Chief Education Officer) at that time in 2015.
“(Name withheld) indicated that no such record came to his office….not from the school or from Child Protection office although I did learn in my absence from school, there were complaints made about the gentleman regarding his inappropriate behaviour towards students.”
During the course of the current police investigation electronic devices belonging to the teacher including a laptop have been confiscated and an arrest is pending.
We contacted the teacher for a comment, however he claimed to be unaware of the issue and did not comment further.