Police not yet involved in JDF sexual harassment case

THE police have not yet been called in to investigate claims of sexual harassment, including rape, against a senior Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) officer, a week after the army confirmed that it was probing the matter.

Chief of Defence Staff Rear Admiral Wemyss Gorman made the revelation in an interview Monday afternoon with journalist Dionne Jackson Miller on her news and current affairs programme Beyond the Headlines on Radio Jamaica.

“[The] investigation has been ongoing. If it amounts to that, it will amount to that. At this point it’s just ongoing investigation,” Wemyss Gorman told Jackson Miller when asked if the matter had been referred to the police.

Before the JDF chief’s interview, the Jamaica Observer had called the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) to find out if the police are involved in the probe. However, a senior officer told the Observer to direct the question to the JDF and repeated that answer when other questions were asked.

When the Observer called the JDF a spokesman said he could not speak on the matter at this time and informed the newspaper of Wemyss Gorman’s upcoming interview with Jackson Miller.

Last Tuesday the JDF had issued a release saying that the accused senior officer has been recalled from training overseas “to enable further investigation and the appropriate disciplinary proceedings”.

On Monday when Jackson Miller asked the army boss if the accused officer was back in the island she said no.

Asked why, Wemyss Gorman said, “In this instant case there are some administrative complications in terms of the repatriation of the person.”

She explained that the officer was deployed on a long course and therefore it requires some time to get him “all squared away at the institution” for his return.

Earlier Monday, the Observer was made privy to grumblings among a number of JDF soldiers who pointed to the case of two soldiers in March 2021 who were arrested and charged following the rape of a fellow woman soldier at Up Park Camp.

At the time, Lieutenant Nathan Curtis, the JDF’s civil military cooperation officer, had said that the army was aware of an incident that took place on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 involving members of the force and the matter was immediately reported to CISOCA and was being investigated by that agency.

According to Lt Curtis, due to the swift action of members of the JDF the two suspects were apprehended shortly after the incident and were charged by the police.

On Monday, during the Beyond the Headlines interview, Jackson Miller asked Wemyss Gorman whether the accused officer in the current case was being protected in any way by the JDF.

“We are just proceeding with the investigations as per our normal standard operating procedures. Persons are being held to account and made available for the investigation,” the chief of defence staff responded.

She also reiterated that her stance on breaches of the sexual harassment policy is that they will be treated quite seriously.

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