Grand Bahama Attorney, Osmond Johnson says there has been an increase in child molestation cases in the country and calls for stiffer penalties. Johnson voiced his concerns to ZNS news stating, “I think that we need have a strict approach to issues like that. Unfortunately in recent years, particularly during the pandemic, we’ve seen this emergence of a wide range of offences against the person that have taken place, particularly involving minors. Molestation, instances of incest, and you see, it is deleterious to our society as a whole to allow for these kinds of occasions to take place unchecked.”
Recently, a seventy three year old was found guilty of unlawful sexual intercourse with an eight year old girl. The man was first charged in 2019 and maintained that he was innocent until is conviction. This is one example of molestation of minors that has been adjudicated through the courts.
Johnson is calling for swift prosecution and heavy penalties to act as a deterrent to those who would target children. He said, “I am putting out there as a proposal a ten year mandatory penalty for any individual involved in such instances. I believe may have more of a deterrent than the current sentencing guidelines we have, bearing in mind that a firearm in this jurisdiction carries a mandatory sentence, these days, of twelve months. So if you can get a twelve month penalty for a firearm, I think you should get a far higher penalty for molesting or abusing a child.”
In addition to his call for higher penalties, Johnson also thinks that children should be educated on the matter in order to protect themselves and know who to speak to.