Although police have commenced an investigation into sexual allegations against Bishops’ High School teacher, Mr. Coen Jackson, there might be some challenges. This is in light of an admission from ‘A’ Division Commander, Mr. Marlon Chapman that witnesses have not been coming forward.
When this publication spoke with Chapman earlier this week, he informed that the police force’s investigation will require that it first has to identify witnesses in the matter before a process of interviewing commences.
However, Chapman asserted yesterday that the police force is currently engaged in investigative work. When asked if the force has been in receipt of any information from the Ministry of Education on the matter, he said “well I haven’t gotten anything from the Ministry of Education, except the okay to go ahead with the investigation.”
At least one young woman [now a former student of The Bishops’ High] has spoken out of being groomed and involved in a sexual relationship with Jackson. The young woman had posted a lengthy statement on Facebook relating her interaction with Jackson over the years. She even claimed of being depressed as a result and had for sometime been unable to speak out on the matter.
Accusations against Jackson were first brought to the fore by Cultural Policy Advisor within the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Mr. Ruel Johnson. But Jackson, who has since retained legal representation and denied the allegations of sexual abuse of students under his instruction, has instead accused Johnson of taking such action, because he had been in communication with Johnson’s girlfriend with whom he had shared a relationship.
The young lady at the centre of Jackson’s accusation is the same person who recently shared her revealing post on Facebook recently.
Johnson in a letter of complaint to Chief Education Officer, Mr. Marcel Hutson, levelled some damning allegations against Jackson, which suggest that he has been sexually abusing female students for many years.
Johnson alleges that the stories of abuse started in the late 1990s, beginning at another city secondary school, and followed Jackson’s career through attachments at several other schools. “I’ve also gotten reports of his activities extending to private lessons. His victims altogether may very well be in the hundreds over the past 20 years,” said Johnson.
The Cultural Advisor’s letter of complaint was also sent to the Ministries of Social Protection, Legal Affairs, Public Health, Public Security and Social Cohesion.
The complaint had forced the Education Ministry into investigation mode. Jackson was sent on administrative leave to facilitate the investigation. At the end of the process, the findings were sufficient to warrant a police investigation.
In a statement the Education Ministry said of its investigation, “The Ministry of Education’s Welfare Department in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection concluded its investigation and handed the matter over to the Guyana Police Force.”
Also, a committee, which was established to investigate the actions of the head teacher, concluded that she be reprimanded and offer an apology to the teachers and students of the school.
Comments on the matter from the school’s Head Mistress [HM], Ms. Winifred Ellis, had sparked public outcry. Based on a recording during a school’s assembly, the HM was heard referring to some girls of the school as “slack” and “loose” and suggested that they were to be blamed for any resulting sexual misconduct.
Protest action had in fact ensued, with protestors calling for the termination of both Jackson and Ellis.
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