SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - With the surfacing of yet another case of alleged sexual abuse of minors, Member of Parliament (MP) Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper of the United Sint Maarten Party (USP) faction in parliament expresses his concerns with the unwarranted incident, the MP said in a press statement on Friday.
“What is frightening is that people in whom parents place their trust with their children are often the ones suspected of these crimes” MP Buncamper noted. The penalty for those found guilty of such heinous crimes are often found to be too lenient to society, considering that their victim(s) is/are scarred for life. Buncamper insists that: “Stiffer penalties must be applied to those convicted of rape, child abuse, making and distribution of child pornography. The possibility exists that pedophiles maybe walking around us in our midst, holding jobs that require them to interact with children.”
MP Buncamper says that he will support a screening method to determine if an applicant applying for a job that involves interaction with children has a record of abusing children. He disclosed that former Member of Parliament (MP) Tamara Leonard started the process to amend the laws regarding child abuse and rape.
The former MP proposed an increase of the maximum sentence for persons found guilty of child abuse and/or rape from 15 years to 24 years. The former MP also proposed to establish a database of persons convicted of rape and/or child abuse during a past number of years, which will be available to the general public. This will alleviate the possibility of placing former offenders in the circle of vulnerable children. MP Leonard had also proposed permitting abortion of an unborn child conceived by rape, if the mother chooses to do so.
MP Buncamper said that the amendments to the laws proposed by former MP Leonard should be tabled again. “I will ensure that the initiative is completed, and the laws are amended and supplemented where necessary to make this type of crime heavier qua penalty and expose those invoked for at least 10 years once convicted.”
Buncamper went on to say that “We must make our society safe from pedophiles and those persons engaging in child pornography.” At the same time, the MP advised parents to speak to their children about these subjects to ensure that they know what to do in the event they become targets of child molesters and other pornographic material. Adequate aftercare and counseling must be made available for rape victims who are left to deal with the ordeal on their own.