Jamaica Observer:-SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Head of the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), Superintendent Enid Ross Stewart, says she is pleased with the recent sentencing of a minister of religion to 20 years in prison for having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.
“You would have heard that at least one of our pastors got 20 years, and I am extremely proud of that. Because… I remember when that report came to CISOCA, I remember,” Superintendent Ross Stewart said while addressing a Kiwanis Club of Westmoreland Capital Early Childhood Institution Quiz Competition opening ceremony on Monday at the Hotel Commingle in Savanna-la-Mar.
Fifteen early childhood institutions are participating in this year’s competition which will see the winner walking away with $35,000, plus other prizes.
The minister of religion, Paul Hanniford, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for having sexual intercourse with a minor when he made an appearance in the Home Circuit Court last Friday.
Superintendent Ross Stewart pointed out that in a number of cases, the paedophile walks free because the complainant gets frustrated with the justice system.
“Sometimes we don’t have control over what happens in the courts because the very same young people we are trying to protect, they themselves don’t want (to proceed)… After a few months, they get frustrated and don’t want to go further. And so, they tell the courts, ‘I am not interested anymore,’” Superintendent Ross Stewart said.
“And they tell their parents and the parents support them. They are not interested and the courts let the paedophiles walk free. The perpetrators walk free,” the superintendent added.
Ross Stewart said the outcome of Hanniford’s case “sends a lesson”.
“And, that sends a lesson to all of us, eh, who dare to want to sexually abuse our children,” Superintendent Ross Stewart said to a round of applause.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Hanniford’s attorney-at-law Lynden Wellesley, had stated that he has advised his client, who is a 55-year-old Pentecostal City Mission Church pastor, to appeal last Friday’s ruling.