5 arrested, charged for raping 2 Bartica teens

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…While police in Berbice probing rape of another teen

Police ranks in ‘F’ Division (Interior Locations) have arrested and charged five men for allegedly raping two teenagers in Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) earlier this year.

Romario Smartt, Ryan Boodhoo, Dale Edwards and Cadacy Degees were on Friday charged and placed before the courts for the offence of rape of a child under 16 years.

The joint charge alleged that between January 1st and January 31st, 2017 at 9th Street Bartica, Essequibo River, they raped two teenage girls.

The men were arraigned before the Bartica Magistrate at about 10:00h on Friday, and were read the charge, to which they each pleaded not guilty. They were then placed on $150,000 bail each.

Another Bartician, Shawn Peters, was charged on Thursday with the offence of raping one of same two girls during the same period. During his arraignment, he was granted bail in the sum of $200,000 after also pleading not guilty to the rape of a child under 16 years old.

According to Police Divisional Commander Ravindranauth Budhram, these charges were instituted against the suspects following advice sought from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

Of recent, sexual assault cases have been on the rise in Bartica, and teenage girls are principally the victims. Residents are therefore complaining bitterly about this situation. In fact, one resident had spoken out about the situation, revealing that there is a gang of men in the town luring 13, 14 and 15-year-old school girls, and in some cases drugging them before having sexual intercourse with them.

The Police Force had, back in June, disclosed that some 14 reports of sexual assault against females in Bartica were reported over the first half of the year. At that time, 10 of those matters were before the courts. One has since been dismissed for want of prosecution; two were sent for legal advice, and advice was obtained for one but the suspect no longer resides in the area although he is being sought.

Berbice report

Meanwhile, investigators from the Sexual Offence Unit in Berbice are investigating a report of an alleged rape of a 15-year-old female.

The incident is said to have been committed in a Corentyne village on Thursday evening.

According to reports, the teenager was walking along the Corentyne Highway at about 20:00h when the 21-year-old suspect called her into a yard and forced her into a house, where the act was committed.

The teen told investigators that the suspect left the premises after the act, and she reported the matter to her father. The police were then alerted, and the suspect was subsequently arrested.

A medical examination confirmed that the female had been violated.   Investigations are ongoing, and the suspect is expected to be charged soon.

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