College clarifies sex abuse report

The Robert Louis Stevenson College has clarified reports of a case of sexual abuse allegedly committed on school grounds, saying the victim was not one of its students.

College Principal Fiaapia Devoe, in a newsletter distributed to parents earlier this week, stated that the offense occurred last month and was perpetrated by a cleaner. 

“This short newsletter is to advise/update/bring to your notice the incident that happened at our College whereby one of our cleaners brought a student from another school to our compound, after work hours, and sexually abused her,” Ms. Devoe stated in the June 15 newsletter. 

“We have been waiting for some confirmed information from the Police (so that we could advise you accordingly and not put the case in jeopardy) and I sincerely apologise that it has taken longer than anticipated as this newsletter should have gone out earlier.”

Police have already arrested a 27-year-old male who is facing sex-related charges involving the alleged sexual abuse of a minor. 

The Principal then assured the parents that the students’ safety at the school is of the “utmost importance”.

“The Board continues to look at different possibilities to improve security. You will be advised of the direction we will take as soon as possible.”

According to the preliminary findings of a Police investigation, the alleged victim was lured by the defendant through social connection on Facebook.

This was confirmed by the Deputy Police and Prisons Commissioner, Papali'i Monalisa Tiai–Keti on Wednesday.

“The defendant has been charged for sexual violation,” she said and added the alleged offense occurred between May 24-28. “Due to the age of the victim and nature of offence, the identity of both the victim and defendant remains confidential. The defendant has been charged and remanded in custody until 29th June 2020 for Court mention.”

Papali'i then urged parents to monitor the activities of their children on social media.

“We believe that open communication between parents and their children will hopefully allow them to share with their parents suspicious activities that they may come across on social media," she said. “All parents, guardians and our community through media platforms must work together to eliminate online grooming and luring of young and vulnerable victims, online bullying and online sharing of materials that are considered violent and socially inappropriate.”

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