Last update: 31-Jul-2014 2:07 pm
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Aunt of boy who died at St Michael's School pleads: Don’t dismiss report
A relative of teenager Brandon Hargreaves is appealing to the authorities not to dismiss the findings of a report into his death—which allege acts of negligence, gross misconduct and sexual impropriety by staff at the St Michael's School for Boys, Diego Martin. In a telephone interview yesterday, Hargreaves’s aunt Patrice Trim said, “When I heard the results of the investigation, I went through a range of emotions. I felt saddened, angry and hurt for a child who suffered.”
She was pleased that an investigation had been ordered into Hargreaves's death. An emotional Trim said, “I hope this is the beginning of a move to get justice for Brandon and all the other children of the country who are abused and neglected, and who suffered some sort of injustice at the hands of friends, family, adults and other children.” She said she had done some soul-searching to “find the positive in this negative situation.”
Trim said, “It is a tragedy that an institution that is supposed to be the last resort, in terms of a safe place for children, has now become one where they are abused. Children go there seeking a sanctuary and end up facing more, or even worse abuse.”
Trim urged the Director of Public Prosecutions, Roger Gaspard, SC, and acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to ensure those “irresponsible adults at St Michael's are held accountable, even if it means levying criminal charges against them. It is time to set a precedent in this country.”
Adding that this was not the first time such reports of neglect and misconduct had been brought against the school, Trim said it was important to send a message to the public that abuse, neglect and improper behaviour would no longer be tolerated. She added that Hargreaves's death should serve as a catalyst for justice for him, as well as others who had been failed by the child protection systems.
She said the authorities needed to ensure the services could provide the physical safety, emotional support and rehabilitative therapy that was necessary for children in such situations.