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Abusive stepfather remanded to prison

GeneralAbusive stepfather remanded to prison

Photo: Devain Flores, remanded

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Wed. May 22, 2024

The man depicted in a video that surfaced on social media earlier this week, showing him physically abusing his 3-year-old stepson, was charged with multiple offenses on Wednesday, May 22.

Two incidents of the disturbing act were captured on video showing the abuser, identified as 33-year-old Devain Flores of Neal Pen Road, Belize City. Flores was employed at the National Sports Council as a security guard; however, he was terminated immediately after the video went viral on social media.

The video was sliced into two parts. The first part shows Flores astraddle a motorcycle with the child; he then removes the child and proceeds to strike and kick him, with the child’s mother coming to intervene.

The second part shows Flores cleaning the said motorcycle, with the child bringing something toward him. He begins to have a conversation with the child, before striking him across the head; and he does this repeatedly until the video ends.

On the same date above, Flores appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court where he was read two counts of Cruelty of a Child, to which he pleaded guilty. During the court session, Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams acted as prosecutor.

“It’s an important matter, I must say. It involves a three-year-old who has been abused, obviously by a thirty-three-year-old. I think that when we have situations of such, the police department, as well as any other organization that has to do with upholding the rights of children, it’s an important matter in making sure that those persons who are responsible are brought to justice,” said ComPol Williams to the local media after the court hearing.

“… Over and over, we’re seeing that our young people are being abused in various ways, shapes, or forms; and as a responsible organization, we will always do our best, working in conjunction with several organizations. So, we have to make sure we do what we can to protect our children. We must send a strong signal to abusers of children that we are not playing, [and that] we are serious about this,” he added.

Initially, Flores was charged with common assault; but the ComPol explained that the charge didn’t fit the crime. Thus, officers viewed the footage again, and after consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the charges were upgraded. The mother of the child initially declined to press charges against Flores but later changed her mind.

“Well, we had to speak with the mother and explain the nature to her of what we’re dealing with. You can’t be a mother and see that your child is being abused at such magnitude and want nothing. I don’t think that a woman should love a man more than how they love their children; and so, she was spoken to, and eventually, she decided that she was going to cooperate with the police, and she did,” ComPol Williams mentioned.

ComPol Williams further mentioned, “We’re seeing a trend where our children are traumatized. These traumas are a result of them being abused by people who are very close to them; and if it is that you are a person in charge of a child, it is expected that you will do what you can to keep that child in good health, and not to put the child at risk of harm or even death. So, it sends a strong signal to all those persons who are not known openly to be abusing children, that… you know what?.. you need to stop.”

Flores was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until June 3, when his sentencing will be heard. Of note is that the offense for which Flores pled guilty carries a possible 10-year sentence.

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