FOLLOWING allegations that a former teen resident of the Berbice Anjuman Orphanage in Philadelphia Street, New Amsterdam had been sodomized, five minors have been taken into protective custody after it was alleged that they had also been sexually violated.
The boys, aged between ten and six, were allegedly forced to perform oral sex on one of their caregivers at the orphanage; and the man accused of committing the dastardly act on the minors has since been placed on $100,000 station bail, after he had been detained by police for several days.
An investigation has since been launched into the reports, and the file containing the alleged victims’ statements has been forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution for perusal.
In the meanwhile, owner of the orphanage, Mr. Abu Bakkar Mandal, has refuted ‘allegations’ peddled in some sections of the media that a child had been sodomized at the orphanage.
The Canadian citizen has also claimed to be unaware of the reasons why officials from the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) took custody of the five boys, who are all under ten years old.
Mandal invited sections of the print media at the Orphanage in order to ‘clear the air’, after the June 5 edition of the Kaieteur News had published the article under the caption, “Students flee New Amsterdam Orphanage, claim sexual assault.’
The apparently disturbed Mandal said one of his charges named Akash had raised allegations of being sexually molested, “but that is not true”, he emphasized.
“After (Akash) had left the orphanage, he subsequently returned on May 23, last with a female plainclothes police officer. He was asked to identify where the incident occurred, and he pointed to a spot beside his bed. He was asked at what time the incident occurred, and he responded 7pm. He was asked if he liked it, and he responded no. He was then asked by the officer if Mr. Deen [the Manager] was on his back, and he responded ‘no’.
According to Mandal, the teen claimed to have been asleep during the assault, and confessed to not being violated by the manager.
However, following that confrontation, which was held in the presence of other officials within the orphanage, Mandal said he decided to hold a personal investigation into the matter, and discovered that ‘Akash’ had not been at the institution on the date of the alleged assault.
“Akash was to be the Muezzin who was scheduled to do the Azan (prayer), but he did not, and instead I heard another child saying the prayers, and on inquiring I was told that Akash left the compound and headed in an eastern direction with a red bicycle.
“A few days later, his step father came and reported that someone had beaten Akash. At no time did he say the child was sexually molested.
“On May 27, his mother Surajdai Premraj came and collected a younger sister who was also staying here. When she signed for the children’s release, she did not make any allegation of sexual misconduct. I was very surprised when I saw the article in the Kaieteur News. No one came to investigate; they just took out some pictures and wrote the story.
“I am aware that (there is) a medical report which supports the allegations, but it did not happen here, it happened somewhere else….”
A report from the Vryman’s Erven Secondary School, where the teen is a student, revealed that the teen has behavioural problems. The student has very poor cognitive ability, and cannot cope with classroom teaching.
Additionally, it was noted that the student is always mentally preoccupied and confused during contact sessions, and exhibits qualities of an introvert. He can be violent when provoked.
However, it was recommended that the teen needed to be taught the basic concept using pictures and colours, and should be encouraged to socialize, the report concluded.
Responding to questions posed by this reporter, Mandal said he drove to the Special Needs School in New Amsterdam on May 28, accompanied by the secretary. He said he drove to where he had intended to uplift two students of that institution, but after some delay, he was informed by a teacher that officials from the welfare department had taken them into custody.
“No one had informed the Orphanage. We subsequently made searches, but came up empty-handed. I then left to pick up students from the St Aloysius Primary School. During this period I received a call on my mobile phone, informing me to visit the Office of the Child Care and Protection Agency in New Amsterdam. On visiting, I was told that three additional children are in protective care.
‘I was then told why the children were in protective custody. I was told that ‘Akash’ made some allegations against the manager’.
“Nevertheless, despite the allegations, I and my manager are willing to submit ourselves to an polygraph test to prove our innocence’, he concluded.
A source close to the investigation informed this reporter that the police file is currently gaining the attention of the Director of Public Prosecution .
However, the source denied that the alleged victim was questioned in the presence of the staff of the orphanage. Instead, the teen was asked to identify the area where he was sexually violated, and ‘he pointed to the second bed’ the source emphasized’.
Currently the alleged perpetrator is on $100,000 station bail, after being detained for seventy-two hours
In addition, this newspaper was reliably informed that the five boys who were taken from two schools within the New Amsterdam environs were confirmed to have been sexually violated.
The under-aged boys reported that the named manager forced them to have oral sex with him. The alleged victims have since been taken into protective custody and are currently out of the jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, a senior official from one of the schools observed that her charges were “once happy and extraverted children, but since the alleged incident, one has become withdrawn’
(By Jeune Bailey-Vankeric)