Dominica high court judge warns of “growing epidemic” of child abuse

child-abuse-740ROSEAU, Dominica, Thursday April 30, 2015, CMC – A High Court judge has warned of a “growing epidemic “ of child abuse in Dominica as he sentenced a 36-year-old man to eight years in prison for having sex with three minors.

Justice Errol Thomas said that he was outraged and dismayed at the behaviour of Clife Elijah Charles after he pleaded guilty to having sex with three minors, aged six, seven, and eight years old. The maximum sentence for such offenses against minors is 25 years.

The judge Monday said that the man’s actions, allegedy committed on December 22, 2012, were “perplexing.

“Sexual abuse can have a long lasting effect on kids…what saved you is your guilty plea and being a first time offender,” the judge said, pointing out that the man had in one day, had sex with two different children and after satisfying himself gave one child “a dollar.”

A report from the social welfare stated that all the victims were affected and said the court “should lose his keys.”

But his defence lawyer, Dawn Yearwood Stewart, said her client believes “a spirit caused that and he was embarrassed” and she pleaded with the court “not to lose his keys as requested by the victims.

“Please temper justice with mercy. He has assisted and prevented the kids going through the embarrassment of a trial,’ she said.

Charles will serve two four year jail sentences to run consecutively and must be evaluated during his entire prison term.

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