BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Sept. 24, 2015–A forty-two-year-old man who has allegedly been targeting young boys on Police Street in the Lake Independence area is in police custody tonight, and it is expected that he will be charged with a sex-related offense tomorrow, Friday.
Amandala has learned that the man is a convicted and registered sex offender in the US, and has been living in Belize for the past two years.
Late this evening, Amandala spoke to Senior Superintendent Chester Williams, the Commander of Eastern Division Southside, who told us that he will brief the media tomorrow.
Williams refused to release any information about the suspect’s identity, only confirming that he is in police custody and that the police are conducting an investigation into the matter.
Even though the matter had been brought to the attention of the police since Saturday, the police had not made any report about the incident in their sitrep (situation report) as of press time tonight, Thursday.
With Williams refusing to release the suspect’s name, and whether he is a Belizean-American, as has been reported, and with nothing at all in “black-and-white” from the police press officer, we therefore cannot publish the suspect’s name, picture or address, except to name the street he lives on, Reid Street, which is off Police Street in Lake I, until he appears in court.
It was only after the intervention of 7 News director, Jules Vasquez, who told Williams what he had learned about an incident involving the young boy that the police began to seriously investigate the allegations made against the suspect.
The disturbing allegation made is that the suspect has been luring young boys into his house, where he sexually molests them, after which he gives them food.
On Saturday night, a neighbor saw a young boy stooping beside a fence, and when the neighbor inquired what was the matter with the child, it was then that the shocking allegations of a sexual nature against the suspect were made, and the neighbor immediately called police, who came, but did not keep the suspect in custody, because they said a report had to be made before they could act.
Amandala has learned, however, that the man the police presently have in custody is a registered sex offender who was convicted three years ago of “oral copulation with a minor under 14 years of age or by force or fear” in San Diego, California.
If the reports are correct, the disturbing, nauseating fact is that this convicted sex offender has been preying on the neighborhood boys for some time. In some cases, he reportedly offered the boys packets of noodles in exchange for sexual favors.
Because none of the boy’s family members wanted to make an official report in this case, police said, they did not actively pursue the information that was provided to them by the concerned neighbor.
The police decided to launch an all-out investigation only when the story began making the rounds in the media.
In a media interview yesterday, Wednesday, Superintendent Williams said that he had directed his investigators and officers from the Police’s Domestic Violence Unit, who teamed up with Department of Human Development officers, to comb the area to locate possible victims of the alleged child predator who has lived in the area for over a year.
One neighbor who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity said that he saw two young boys regularly frequent the suspect’s house.
The neighbor said that on Saturday night he saw a little boy hiding by the fence. The boy told the neighbor that he wanted to go home, but the man didn’t want him to leave.
He also told the neighbor that he has been having oral sex with the man, who gave him the two packs of noodles he had in his hand.
When the boy told the neighbor that he had been having oral sex with the man, the neighbor decided to call the police and report the incident.
“The part that I am not happy with the police with is that Chester Williams said the police did no wrong. How could he say the police did no wrong, when he did not know about the case?” the neighbor said.
“The police took him [the suspect] into custody around 9:00 p.m. and shortly after 10:00 p.m., he was back at his house,” the neighbor said.
“Police should have cordoned off that area and make his house a crime scene. They should have searched the house and taken out any evidence that they could find, computers and stuff like that”, the neighbor later said to the media.
“They did not come prepared; one of the officers asked the other, if he had any handcuff. They took a long time to get the man out of the house”, the neighbor further commented.
“One of them asked, ‘what are we going to do with this little boy?’ I told them to take him to his mother,” the neighbor said.
The neighbor said that when he saw that the suspect had been released, he became angry, “because under no condition that guy should a mi get released.”
“There is a simple charge that you could use [to hold him], harboring a minor,” the neighbor said.
The neighbor said that the suspect later hired some people to assist him in moving out of the house. He was arrested, however, before he could leave.
The neighbor maintained that police did not retrieve any kind of evidence out of the house, because the suspect had been left in the house for too long.