Sex scandal rocks kids’ home

September 8, 2008

Sex scandal rocks kids’ home

7 September 2008

By Annie Dorasamy

The Aryan Benevolent Home has been hit by a scandal after a house master discovered two children, aged 12 and 14, having sex in the yard of the Chatsworth children’s home.

The family of the girl said they had been told she was pregnant, but the chief executive officer of the home, Rajish Lutchman, dismissed the claim.

“We admit this happened, much to our shock, but she is not pregnant,” said Lutchman.

The girl and the teenage boy, both in the care of the home, were caught having sex behind a shed on the first Sunday in August.

And in a surprise visit late on Friday, the girl’s family found her and her boyfriend alone behind another shed.

The 12-year-old girl and her three siblings were placed at the home in September last year when neighbours reported their drug-addicted parents to the Child Welfare Society.

But on Friday the girl’s mother, who said she had been rehabilitated since she moved to Phoenix to live with relatives, approached the Chatsworth District Court to obtain an order.

She wants her daughter removed from the home and placed at another institution.

“More damage has been done to my children while living at the home than when they lived with me,” she said.

In an interview with the Tribune Herald, relatives claimed a social worker had called them three weeks ago and told them the news of the pregnancy.

The fact that the girl had been taken to a private doctor also raised the family’s ire.

“It’s strange that she was taken to a private doctor instead of a provincial hospital. She could have had an abortion and no one would have known anything about it,” said a cousin.

But Lutchman said this was not the first time a child at the home had been taken to a private doctor, showing the Tribune Herald records that proved other children and staff had been treated by the doctor.

“We took the girl to a credible doctor whose assistance is quicker, giving us answers immediately. She is a woman doctor, and it made sense for the girl to be treated by her.

“If we had taken the girl to a hospital, the chances are she may have had to wait in a queue for about eight hours, only to find that the doctor who would attend to her was a man.

“It’s not only the issue of whether she was pregnant, but whether the children had any sexually transmitted diseases,” said Lutchman, who took the boy to the same doctor.

Lutchman could not verify whether the girl had become sexually active only after she started living at the home.

But the girl’s cousin said, “We have heard so many stories and really don’t know what exactly has been going on. We want to know the truth, but different people are saying different things. Although the mother used drugs, her children were never harmed.”

Relatives claimed the girl’s 15-year-old brother had run away from the home because he was being ill-treated.

“He was very protective of his sister and defended her when he heard rumours of her being involved with boys,” said a cousin.

“There was an argument between him and another girl (who also lives at the home) at school and she poked him on the back with a pen.

“He told the house master he was not feeling well the next day and did not want to go to school. The house master embarrassed him and forced him to have a bath in cold water, and he was made to stand in the rain. He ran away from there and does not want to go back.”

Lutchman, however, denied the claims, saying the boy had been troublesome and had not wanted to abide by house rules.

Commenting on the sex scandal, Lutchman said it was a tragic situation when a 12-year-old sought fulfilment in such a way.

“As an institution, we have to redefine our sexual awareness programme and look at areas where we may be lacking when it comes to educating children.

“In the past, our programmes catered for girls at the age of puberty, but we will now have to start awareness at a much younger age.

“This incident has affected both children tremendously. They are receiving counselling from a psychologist. However, we are grateful for the wonderful support team we have and will do what is in the best interests of the boy and the girl,” said Lutchman.

* This article was originally published on page 1 of The Sunday Tribune on September 07, 2008

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