A series of Whatsapp messages, sent to Newsday last evening by the hero mom, detailed a conversation the suspected child molester thought he was sending to the schoolgirl whom he was hired to drop off to school and later picked up and taken home, after the regular driver could not make it on Thursday morning on account of his car not working. The suspect at the time, was driving someone else’s car as ‘PH’, (Private Hire).
“How u don’t have a pic”; “So who home wit u right now”; “Ok, so I could see u”; “Ok, so I could come now den” and “We go drive by my hill view”, were some of the messages the man sent to the child’s phone after he asked her for the number before dropping her off at her home. In an interview yesterday the woman said that when her child arrived at home in tears and trembling.
The child told her mother what had transpired when the suspect demanded her cellular phone number while she was in his car.
“If she did not think fast and give him the number he would have driven off with her.
She is fully aware what almost happened because I always tell her to be alert hence the reason she came to me immediately following the incident. I think by giving him the number, this gave him hope that they would have met up later. This is why she is with us today. This week is the first week she had to travel. She has a direct driver but his car is down,” the relieved mother explained.
She said that on Thursday at about 4.45 pm her daughter ran into the house screaming, “Mummy! Mummy! The driver wanted to take me for a drive and asked for my phone number.” “She said that she ran towards our home as soon as she left the car and the man drove off.” The woman continued, “My child was in her primary school uniform and that nasty man asked for her number and if she was on Whatsapp. What is more horrifying is that he could have driven off with my child at that very moment.” The woman said she sat and waited for the man’s messages to come.
“Eventually he began to send messages at eight o’clock in the night.
I took the phone and started Whatsapp chatting with him, leading him to believe it was my daughter he was chatting with. The man was behaving real ‘tusty’ that he started asking what my daughter was wearing, what she was doing and who was home with her,” she said.
‘HE INSISTED ON COMING OVER’ “I wrote in the Whatsapp that I was home alone and that mummy went to work and coming home after midnight. I pretended to be my daughter in the messages and told the man I was watching TV.
He then again asked to go for a drive with him and I tried to persuade him to leave it for tomorrow (Friday) but he insisted that he could come over one time,” the woman said. She added that the driver consistently asked if he could come over to look for her (the woman’s daughter) and for them to go for a drive up in Hillview, Chaguanas.
“This is an area not too far from us. But it is not fully developed as yet, so there are a lot of empty lots. He continued asking if she can go for the drive and I answered saying, ‘no, I don’t have a key for the house and I can’t leave the place opened’. He then said that it was alright that all I had to do was push in the front door and nobody would not know it was unlocked. I told him to let’s meet tomorrow but he insisted on passing over one time. I didn’t even know this sicko living not too far from our home. I have never seen this person in my life.” The woman said that she and other male relatives waited for the man’s arrival and as soon as he entered the property, clad in a green jersey and a black pants, he was surrounded and beaten.
Using plastic tiestraps the dazed man was tied up and sat on the ground while a report was made to the Chaguanas police. He was arrested and taken to the Chaguanas Health Centre where he was treated before being discharged. The man was last night still in police custody. While he was tied and sitting on the ground in her house, the woman said she took photos of the man with her cell phone camera and uploaded the images to Facebook.
It has since been reposted hundreds of times.
The mother said that officers from Chaguanas Police Station contacted her to say that by posting the man’s photo on online social media this could be construed as a form of Cyber Bullying and the man’s family is threatening legal action against her. “I told the officers to go ahead and press charges against me because I am not removing the pictures. The world has to know that he is sick and these sick people must be identified,” she said.
NO TO VIGILANTE JUSTICE Contacted for comment, Communications Manager of the Children’s Authority Cheryl Moses-Williams said if the alleged incident as highlighted on social media is true, the Authority, “commends the mother for being proactive in protecting her child.” However, she said the Authority is calling on the public to report incidents to Police and not engage in vigilante justice as the Police are responsible for criminal investigations.
She said the Authority reminds the public that this country is operating under new and modern legislation aimed at protecting our children.
“The Children Act, 2012, creates a number of new offences targeted towards the prevention of sexual abuse of children.
It defines a child to be a person under the age of 18 and there are severe penalties that have been established in relation to various offences which include sexual touching, sexual grooming and sexual penetration of a child,” Moses-Williams said.
She said the Authority is appealing to parents and guardians to maintain open communication with their children so that they feel comfortable reporting any incidents or concerns.
“Parents and guardians are reminded that they have a responsibility to ensure their children’s safety, at all times.” She said the role of the Authority, under the Children Act, 2012, is mandated to investigate all reports of abuse.
“Once a report of child abuse or mistreatment is brought to the Authority’s attention, the investigation process is initiated to substantiate or not substantiate the allegations with a view to determining whether the child is in need of care and protection and what interventions would be appropriate in the child’s best interest,” she said.
Moses-Williams explained that in order to substantiate a report, the Authority’s investigation officer usually conducts at least three main investigations which involve a home visit that includes interviews with the child’s parents and other relatives, a school visit and community enquiries.
In some cases, additional investigative work is done to ascertain the facts of the case, so that a fully informed recommendation can be made.