Sabga report: Recommendation given to man who molested 40 boys /

The 1997 Robert Sab­ga re­port in­to abuse at 10 chil­dren’s homes is now in the pub­lic do­main and its con­tents are just as dis­turb­ing as the re­cent 2021 in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

With­in the 70-page doc­u­ment, ti­tled «Re­port of The Cab­i­net Ap­point­ed Task Force to Re­view the Op­er­a­tions of Chil­dren’s Homes and In­sti­tu­tions in Trinidad and To­ba­go,» is a sto­ry that can ri­val even the most chill­ing re­ports of abuse in the more re­cent Ju­dith Jones-led in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Page 36 of the Sab­ga re­port re­veals the al­leged crimes of a staff mem­ber of the St Do­minic’s Home for Chil­dren, who mo­lest­ed up to 40 boys be­fore the fa­cil­i­ty’s man­age­ment stepped in.

The re­port states that the staff mem­ber com­mit­ted sev­er­al acts of sex­u­al abuse.

«These in­clud­ed forced bug­gery, en­cour­ag­ing boys to have sex with each oth­er while he watched, strip­ping and beat­ing the old­er boys while the younger ones looked on, en­cour­ag­ing the chil­dren to ‘play’ with him, etc.»

This was first high­light­ed in the now-de­funct T&T Mir­ror news­pa­per in De­cem­ber 1997.

But two-and-a-half decades lat­er, the de­tails are still dis­turb­ing.

The re­port says, «One young boy fi­nal­ly dis­closed all and the al­leged per­pe­tra­tor was con­front­ed. He ad­mit­ted his ac­tions and ex­plained that he too had been abused by St Do­minic’s.»

How­ev­er, what hap­pened next as­ton­ished the in­ves­tiga­tive team.

«Sr Ma­ri­na asked him to vol­un­teer his res­ig­na­tion that day, and all of his leave etc. was paid to him in full.

«The mat­ter was then prompt­ly swept un­der the car­pet and no coun­selling or fol­low up with the chil­dren in­volved was done, os­ten­si­bly to pro­tect the rep­u­ta­tion of the home.»

The re­port went on to say that, «most as­ton­ish­ing of all is this Mr. (name with­held) al­leged­ly got a let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion from St Do­minic’s and he is now re­port­ed­ly em­ployed at St. Ann’s Hos­pi­tal.»

Not hold­ing back, the in­ves­tiga­tive team said, «Giv­en the enor­mi­ty of his crime, Mr. (name with­held) would, in any oth­er so­ci­ety, be brand­ed a mon­ster of the worst kind, and he would be put away for life.»

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors lament­ed that «very lit­tle else ap­pears to have been done about his ac­tions, ei­ther in terms of him get­ting pro­fes­sion­al help, or – more im­por­tant­ly, as not­ed above – any of the stag­ger­ing num­ber of chil­dren he mo­lest­ed get­ting help ei­ther (one child even wrote a let­ter to a staff mem­ber plead­ing for help).»

Twen­ty-four years lat­er and the Ju­dith Jones re­port has found that at the same fa­cil­i­ty, «Staff at St Do­minic’s some­times fail to iden­ti­fy and pro­tect res­i­dents from groom­ing and thus sex­u­al abuse.»

The 2021 re­port adds, «The home has met all con­di­tions for a res­i­dence li­cense ex­cept the re­quire­ment that it pro­vide po­lice cer­tifi­cates of char­ac­ter for all its staff.»

Guardian Me­dia on Thurs­day at­tempt­ed to reach out to the man­age­ment of the home to find out what mea­sures were put in place to im­prove the qual­i­ty of care of chil­dren be­tween 1997 and now. How­ev­er, we were told man­ag­er Sis­ter Ar­lene Greenidge was not in of­fice and our con­tact in­for­ma­tion was tak­en.

Vic­ar Gen­er­al of the Arch­dio­cese of Port-of-Spain, Fa­ther Mar­tin Sir­ju, said while the board of the home is best placed to an­swer the ques­tions, he is look­ing for­ward to im­prov­ing the sys­tem fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion the church an­nounced on Wednes­day.

Sir­ju said the scope of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­clud­ing dead­lines, is still be­ing sort­ed out.


LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian