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Nov 26, 2004

One time political activist charged for child rape

Story PictureIt may be an unfortunate coincidence, but one day after Belizeans rallied for an end to violence against women we are compelled to report at least three cases of rape, two committed against children. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods has been following the most shocking incident, in which both a man and his girlfriend are accused of participating in a series of sexual assaults.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
Fifty-five year old James Sanders first gained notoriety during the 1998 elections as one of the public faces in the PUP media campaign as the man behind the ?truth table?. Seven years later, it is Sanders who will have to face the truth and perhaps the consequences after being charged with two counts of carnal knowledge. Sanders common law wife twenty year old Genevia Estrada has also been charged with two counts of abetment to commit carnal knowledge.

Jacqueline Woods
?The couple is alleged to have been involved in the sexual molestation of two children that occurred in two separate incidents in 2000 and 2001.?

CPL Carla Reynolds, I/C Sexual Offence Unit
?Even though this case is worrisome I will not want to disclose anything that will affect the investigation or the outcome of the case so I?d rather not really discuss it.?

On October eighteenth, the two girls in the company of their parents went to the police station on Queen Street. Authorities say the children?s parents did not know that the little girls had been sexually assaulted.

Jacqueline Woods
?News 5 understands that the break in the case came by accident. Authorities were called in when concerns were raised that one of the girls was regularly seen being dropped off at school by an older man who gave her money. When the child was questioned, it turned out that the man who dropped her off was an innocent relative…but the youngster went on to report that she was sexually molested by James Sanders. At the time of the incidents, the children were ten years old.?

Investigations reveal that in 2001 one of the children went to this apartment complex where Sanders was living at the time with Estrada and it is here the young girl was assaulted. It is reported that Sanders was assisted each time in the act by Estrada.

CPL. Carla Reynolds
?The cases are becoming very disturbing to see that we have reached the point where females are also involving themselves in sexual abuse cases because I would look at it to say, I would trust my child with a female at all times, but now it reach the stage where because of the files on the desk, I could say, I cannot trust anybody. ?

Police believe that Sanders is involved in at least two more other incidents. In one of those cases, presently before the supreme court, Sanders is charged with the carnal knowledge of a nine year old girl that occurred in Orange Walk. The cases for which Sanders is being investigated all occurred between 1999 and 2001.

CPL. Carla Reynolds
?In a case like that a charge can still be brought if the child is under fourteen. It doesn?t have nay time frame that that report could be made. Meaning that if this child had been raped five years ago and this child is seven, if the report comes in we can still charge that person because that child is under fourteen. But let?s say if the child is between fourteen and sixteen the report has to be made within twelve months of that actual incident.?

Jacqueline Woods
?Since the reports were made both minors were medically examined and the doctor has certified that both children had been carnally known.?

Reynolds says so far this month they have received eight cases of sexual abuse. The children are between the ages of seven and fifteen years old.

CPL. Carla Reynolds
?In most of the cases these people have kids and it would be surprising to see that we have a lot of incest.?

?My advice to parents or guardians out there is to be more observant of your child and notice changes in your kids because these are signs: withdrawals; begin to withdrawn, won?t really speak to anybody, wet bed, nightmares and different things.?

Sanders and Estrada have been remanded to Hattieville prison and both are scheduled to reappear in magistrate court on December sixteenth. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

Reynolds, who conducts talks with primary school students along with the police zone beat liaison officers, says concerned parents can contact her for whatever information they may need to protect their children. Reynolds can be visited at the police station on Queen Street or you can call her at telephone number 227-2222 and ask for extension 119.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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