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Feb 26, 1999

More arrests for sexual abuse

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The lid of Pandora’s Box appears to be opening as police are now receiving daily calls about possible cases of the sexual exploitation of children. Two weeks ago a twelve year old was murdered in Orange Walk and there were three incidents this week of adults being arrested for having sex with minors. One case in particular, that of a man who has been allegedly paying Belize City primary school girls for sex, has finally prompted some people to break their silence about what is happening to many Belizean children. According to police, so far a total of twelve cases involving minors having sex with adults have been discovered since the start of the year. More arrests were made yesterday. Police charged twenty-four year old Dale Buckley and his friend nineteen year old Monica Mariano for having sex with a twelve year old. Police detective Constable Carla Reynolds says the child left her house on February twelfth but was not reported missing by her guardian until seven days later. Reynolds told News Five the girl played a game with the adults which resulted in a sexual encounter. She says she and other detectives who deal with these cases are handicapped by the time lapse involved between the incidents and when they are reported.

Carla Reynolds, Detective Constable

“It was Monica’s idea to play this game called dare, double dare and triple dare and she explained that the game is if you go around and say bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish, how many wishes do you wish. And, they would go around and who they point at the end of the game then it would be your turn to dare someone. Then you would say I dare you to take that money or to do anything.

Unfortunately, they dared Dale to vamp her, to vamp her and it was triple so it was three times. So she had vamps on both sides of her neck and one on her cheek. They went around again and it was Monica’s turn so she had sex with Dale.

First she was saying that she was not sexually active. She was saying that the vamp went there because of the game that they played. And, after taking her to the doctor and at the conclusion of the examination that was when the doctor told her that you lied to me. And then she admitted that yes this was the person who did it.

These reports are not being made as they are committed. That is my biggest problem. Because the longer these people take to report these incidents the evidence will be weak. So, I would suggest that everyone who is being molested out there to come in as quick as possible. The more evidence that come in will be better for us. We will have a better conviction.”

Up to news time Buckley and Mariano have still not been formally charged in Magistrate’s Court. Earlier this week police issued strong warnings to anyone caught harboring runaway children saying they would be charged just like anyone caught having sex with children. Police also noted that even if parents seem disinterested in the welfare of their children, kids can be taken under the wing of the Human Development Department and removed from the home. Next week Children’s Week is being celebrated under the theme, “What you make of us today is what you’ll get tomorrow; stop child abuse”. Child abuse and sexual abuse will be among the topics discussed with children nationwide. Even pre-school children will be informed with special classes on, “Good Touch, Bad Touch”. Parents are being urged by both the police and educators to get involved and talk to their children to prevent them from being exploited by strangers, or as is so often the case friends and family members. Later in this newscast G. Michael Reid looks at the issue of child abuse.

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