It didn’t make the daily police situation reports disseminated to the media, but there is a disturbing report coming out of Belmopan’s residential psychiatric care facility, the Palm Center. It says that one of its young male patients raped an elderly female patient last week.
To protect the identities of those involved officials are tight-lipped, but the Reporter has confirmed that the incident occurred on Monday, August 31st, at the facility located in the Maya Mopan area of Belmopan.
The victim is in her eighties, while the man she told authorities violently abused her is in his twenties.
The circumstances surrounding the alleged rape are as sketchy as the details of that attack. Palm Center Administrator Michelle O’Brien stated on Tuesday that while they are leaving the actual investigation to the Belmopan police, she can confirm that an incident did take place on Monday evening around 6:00.
“This is a first incident of its kind that has been reported and we have the usual staff there. We always try to ensure that we are adequately staffed”, stated O’Brien. She says that evening was the same as any other, with the usual complement of nurses and security on hand, so the incident is still baffling to them.
“We normally would have in the evening, maybe around six o’clock. We have the administration of medication and I think maybe when the patients are lined up and they are administering this medication, this is the only time that I can see such an incident occurring”, O’Brien told reporters, stating that it must have happened in just a split-second window of opportunity.
She says that even more baffling is the fact that the alleged rapist having had an ‘altercation’ with another patient earlier, was placed to sit beside the nurses’ centre under constant scrutiny.
“So he was sitting in the facility by the nursing station, under supervision. The other patients were called in to get their medication and, according to the reports, it was during that time while they were lined up.” At that point, O’Brien claims, the elderly woman was alone on the patio of the institution.
She says however, that the reports reaching her do not show the alleged perpetrator leaving the area beside the nurses’ station But would not respond to further probing because the investigation is in the hands of the police. She did confirm that as a matter of procedure, a medical examination was conducted on the elderly woman who claims that she was sexually assaulted.
Belmopan police would not comment on the investigation, and Ministry of Health CEO Peter Allen could provide only the barest information – “I’m aware that we have brought in both families of the elderly patient and of the young patient who is alleged to have committed these activities.
“I’m aware that we have provided the appropriate medical care and counselling. At the moment, the investigation is ongoing so I’m not aware of anything else, apart from the fact that I am aware that it is alleged to have happened.”
Currently both persons are still in the care of the Palm Centre. O’Brien explained that the facility is a residential one, for those who basically have nowhere else to go.