School coach under “death threat” for helping minor, 14, report sex attack by teacher
A basketball/football coach of a Nazarene primary school in San Ignacio is not attending school due to fears for his safety, after receiving death threats because he assisted a boy, 14, to report to police that he had been sodomized by a teacher of the same school.
The coach, whose identity has to remain anonymous because he fears for his life, told Amandala this morning that the threats are numerous. On Wednesday, May 15, at about 10:00 a.m., he said, a man rode up on a motorcycle in San Ignacio, stopped beside him and told him, “Informers fi dead!”
Amandala also was told that on Thursday, May 9, around 12:30 a.m. a car stopped in front of his house in San Ignacio. Two men got out of the car, but the dogs began to bark. The men then reportedly got back into the car and drove away.
The harassment did not stop there. On Tuesday, May 14, at about 2:00 a.m., someone threw missiles at the coach’s house while he was sleeping. When he awoke, he saw a car driving away. He reported the matter to police, and they are investigating.
The coach now calls on the Teachers Commission and the Ministry of Education to intervene, and conduct their own investigation. He also calls on the school’s other staff members, who turned against him after the teacher accused of child assault, Eddie Pinelo, 36, was remanded to prison, to realize that he was only protecting students from a child predator — even if he was one of their own — who was bent on molesting boys in the school.
Pinelo was arrested and charged with committing an unnatural crime on Thursday, May 9. He was taken to the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court on Friday, May 10, and was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until August 15, when he is to return to court for his committal for trial in the Supreme Court.
The coach said that after Pinelo was committed, there was a division in the staff, because some of the teachers supported the accused teacher, and said that they did not believe that he would do such things.
The coach, who thought he followed a morally right course of action when he decided to protect the school’s students from a teacher who allegedly had been sodomizing young boys, is now being treated as an outcast. He is now a target, he said. Unfounded reports and allegations are now being made against him, he said, as an act of retaliation against him for assisting the police.
The coach said that he took the boy to the San Ignacio Police Station on May 8, along with the boy’s grandparents, and their pastor. He explained that an e-mail had been sent to the school while he was in the office, from a man who allegedly is the culpable teacher’s lover, demanding that the boy be asked what the teacher did to him. The e-mail was shared with the coach and another teacher.
The coach then got the student from out of his class and brought him to the office for questioning, but the child did not say much about the incident.
The following day, the child was taken to the police station by the coach, where, in the presence of his grandmother and his pastor, he revealed what had happened. The boy told police that the teacher lured him to his house, and got him drunk by giving him rum and coke.
The student alleged to police that the teacher put him on the bed, took off his clothes and climbed on top of him and had sex with him for about thirty minutes. The child said that when the ordeal was finished, the teacher paid a taxi to take him home. He said that this was not the first time that he had been sodomized by the teacher. He said that the teacher would lure him and another student to his house in Bullet Tree with money, video games, and expensive gifts.
A police press release, however, indicated that the doctor who conducted an examination of the student concluded that “there was no sign of physical abuse on the minor.”
At the police station, the boy explained that he had felt pain in his anus, but was afraid to report it. The coach who went with the boy said that the doctor who examined him said that he could not say that there was penetration, because two weeks had elapsed after the alleged incident.
According to the coach, his team is headed toward a national basketball championship game in Belize City on Friday, May 24, but he has not been able to carry out training, and might not be able to attend the game because his life is being threatened.
Amandala tried all day today, Monday, to speak with the general manager of the school, reportedly an American, but he was not available to speak with us, then our calls went to voice mail and remained unanswered.
The principal told us today that the coach had indeed received threats, and she had also informed the vice-principal of those threats. She did state, however, that only the general manager could comment further on the matter.
The vice-principal, for his part, told KREM Radio that he was not aware of the threats against the coach.
The coach, however, said that even single-handedly, he will take a stand against predators to prevent them from molesting our children.