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Jan 27, 2006

Accused child molester acquitted in Supreme Court

Story PictureA Belize City shopkeeper accused of raping a twelve year old girl has been found not guilty by a jury of his peers in the Supreme Court. According to the testimony of the victim, in the months of January to March of 2004, seventy-six year old Tereso Hernandez had sex with her in his store, located just around the corner from the Magistrate’s Court, on East Canal. The girl says that Hernandez had repeatedly given her sweets and money before taking her to a room behind the store and raping her. The defendant’s attorney, Simeon Sampson, argued before Justice Michelle Arana that children are prone to fantasizing and since there was no one else asserting that the act had occurred, the child was encouraged to “set up” his client. Prosecutor Kamar Henry maintained that, “Everybody who is doing things like this keep it on the down low … they won’t walk around with these girls on their side, taking their picture. The witness stated herself in her statement, “it is my fault.” They have sex in closed rooms; nobody will make big publicity with little girls.” But after two and a half hours of deliberation, the jury returned late this evening with a not guilty verdict on one count of carnal knowledge and chose to remain undecided on a second count of carnal knowledge. We understand tonight that the jury of nine ruled eight to one to acquit Hernandez of the first charge of carnal knowledge.

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