NOC inmates being sexually assaulted, Senior official covering it up, says staff member

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A senior official attached to the New Opportunity Corps (NOC)- Juvenile Detention Centre- at Onderneeming, Essequibo Coast in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam)  is being accused of covering up several instances of sexual assault between inmates and staff members of the institution.

A section of the NOC facility

According to a staff member –who asked not to be named- this matter has been reported several times but is continuously being brushed aside and disregarded.

The source told this publication that the Senior Representative maintains strong relationships with some members of his staff and as such, when the reports are brought to him of their sexual misconduct, he would pay no mind.

Over the past months, there have allegedly been six female inmates who have reported that they were either forced into sexual activities or experienced inappropriate behaviour from two particular staff members attached to the Detention Centre.

However, the matter is yet to be addressed.

It is also being alleged that the very Senior Official has been making sexual advances towards his female staff members.

INews was told that when these persons refuse his demands, the Official would subject them to undue pressure and other acts of victimisation.

The source further indicated that currently there are two members of staff (names provided) who are in active relationships with the female minors, but no action is being taken against them.

In 2013, an investigation was launched by the then Culture, Youth and Sport Ministry after three inmates were discovered pregnant.

When the Government changed, responsibility for the NOC was assigned to the Social Protection Ministry.

The NOC houses youths between the ages of 10 and 18, after they are sentenced there by the courts to participate in correctional programmes lasting up to three years.

Most of them are sentenced for petty offences, such wandering, minor assault and theft.

However, over 50 per cent of the more than 100 inmates are at the NOC for wandering.

Attempts by this media group to solicit a response from the NOC administration on these allegations proved futile.

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