A St Michael man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for buggery.
Madam Justice Jacqueline Cornelius handed down the sentence to Gerald Sylvester Brathwaite, of Block No. 9, Cutting Road, Haggatt Hall, St Michael, this week for the crime which was committed on March 17, 2009.
The victim, who suffers from cerebral palsy and speech impairment, was a student at the National Disabilities Unit in St Philip where Brathwaite was employed as the agricultural teacher.
On the aforementioned date, Brathwaite reportedly lured the victim into a room, which had a bed, and sexually assaulted him.
When the young man’s mother was assisting him at home later that day, he complained of having a sore bottom, which led the mother to question him further. It was then that she found out what had happened to her child. She immediately reported the matter to police.
However, Brathwaite, who has no previous convictions, maintained his innocence throughout his trial, but was found guilty by a jury last December.
In issuing her sentence in the No.5 Supreme Court, Justice Cornelius told Brathwaite he had abused the position of trust and confidence which had been placed in him.
“There are few greater positions of authority and influence than that of a teacher [and] you [were] employed to assist in the welfare of students in your care. The victim’s parents trusted you enough to give you a ride to work almost everyday and on that day, because he arrived early, they essentially delivered him into your hands. You are the very last person they expected to bring harm to their child,” the judge stated.
She also pointed to the young man’s vulnerability.
“He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you took advantage of him being unable to defend himself against your actions and perhaps you were also hoping that his inability to express himself clearly would go in your favour,” she added.
Brathwaite’s actions, she said, also had a physical, social and psychological effect on the victim who no longer has a keen interest in agriculture and, according to his parents, is now withdrawn and has problems sleeping.
Brathwaite, who was represented by attorney-at-law Lenda Blackman, was remanded to HMP Dodds following last year’s verdict and has so far spent 565 days at that penal institution.
He now has seven years and 165 days left to serve of the sentence.
Senior Crown Counsel Krystal Delaney prosecuted the case.