By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
A 54-year-old Guatemalan is in police custody after reportedly sexually assaulting his 77-year-old mother-in-law.
According to police, Juanita Torres, resident of San Joaquin village, reported that she was on her veranda in her wheel chair on Thursday October1, when her son-in-law Rubio Castro. reportedly approached her and took her into her house around 10:00 a.m. and committed sexual acts which were undisclosed.
Police say they have since arrested Castro, but no charges have been made because there was not a sitting magistrate in Corozal on Friday. Castro is expected to be charged early next week.
Officer commanding the Corozal Police formation, Dennis Arnold, declined comment, saying that he was still receiving information on the incident.
The National Council on Ageing (NCA) and HelpAge Belize, have both vehemently condemned the act. Ivorine Bulwer, executive director of HelpAge, explained that if the facts remain constant, the act represents a gross violation of the rights of a vulnerable member of society.
Lindy Jeffrey, executive director for the NCA, called for swift and decisive action from the relevant authorities in not only attending to the criminal aspect, but looking after the well-being of the elderly victim.
“We can condemn all we like, but we need some action when these cases come up”, Jeffrey said.
Both organizations explained that much needs to be done in terms of assessing the victim’s safety, a thorough medical exam, and post incident counselling.
The incident took place on International Day for Older Persons, where countries the world over were paying homage to their senor citizens. The NCA used the commemoration to launch its strategic plan of action to deal with issues affecting older persons in Belize, one of which was the protection of their human rights.