Legal Eagle: My husband is a child molester!
My husband is a child molester!
A reader writes to complain that her husband is a child molester and that she has tried several times to report him to the police who have given her a hard time. She indicated that he has been molesting his daughter, who is now an adult, from she was a child and the daughter is now "sick and tired of it". "I cannot keep focus on my daily activities as I am always wondering who he is going to molest next" she wrote. She also wants a divorce.
This is a sad story but there are solutions in law.
Firstly, a report may be made to the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse [CISOCA]. This is the police unit that is directly responsible for the investigation of sexual offences. I am sure officers from CISOCA would be very happy to receive the report and to treat it with the desired professionalism. CISOCA would not only be interested in the most recent complaints but they would be happy to investigate and speak with as many persons as possible who have been allegedly abused by this man over the years. There is no limitation period that would prevent the police from investigating and prosecuting sexual offences going back to even 50 years.
If any of the persons allegedly molested are still children, the Children's Advocate would have an interest in seeing that the police properly investigate the matter. In that regard, a report should also be made to the Office of the Children's Advocate and I am sure proper guidance will be received on the matter. It is worthy of note too that under the Child Care and Protection Act, 2004, a legal duty is placed on any person who suspects that a child is sexually ill-treated to make a report to the Registry.
In relation to the police officers who have received the earlier reports and who might not have acted on these reports, there are several agencies that, I am sure, are willing to listen, record and investigate complaints against the police. One such agency is the Police Public Complaints Authority. However, a first step may be to report the matter to the Superintendent in charge of the Division as the Superintendent can make enquires and cause a complete investigation to be conducted.
If these allegations are at all true and provable, then this husband could be in big trouble with the law as the Sexual Offences Act carries a wide range of offences, which attract long prison sentences. I would only add, as a gentle reminder to this reader, the well-known Jamaican saying that "hearseh, hearseh caan guh a law." It means that the persons who are the alleged victims, including the adult daughter, would have to be willing to come forward and make a report to the police before anything can be done effectively under the law.
Keith N. Bishop is an Attorney-at-Law and senior partner in the law firm of Bishop & Partners. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org