Senior who sexually abused adopted daughter is jailed
A “morally disturbed and dangerous” elderly man has been jailed for four years for sexually abusing a daughter he adopted from a developing country.
Magistrates’ Court heard he has a history of sexual and violent offences against women and children dating back to 1954 [see sidebar].
His daughter came forward and reported the crimes — committed when she was aged eight and nine — after reading about another child abuse case in the newspaper.
The man, who cannot be identified in order to protect the anonymity of his victim, protested his innocence. However, he was convicted after a trial of two charges of sexually touching her while in a position of trust.
The details of the charges are too graphic to print, and took place over a two-year period.
Locking Mr X up yesterday, Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo told him: “The facts of the case and the position you still maintain suggest that you are a morally disturbed and dangerous man.”
The maximum sentence the man could have been given at Magistrates’ Court was five years.
Suggesting four to five years would be appropriate, prosecutor Susan Mulligan told Mr Tokunbo: “Mr [X] takes no responsibility, continues to deny his offences and to blame others, showing even at this stage of his life no insight, no acceptance of responsibility and absolutely no remorse.”
She said an assessment concluded that he is “at high risk for committing future sex offences”.
She added: “Really, Mr [X] needs to be sent away from society, and in my opinion, for a very significant period of time. Mr [X] is a sexual predator, he is a violent predator, and he preys too often on women and children.”
Ms Mulligan said a statement from the victim makes clear that the abuse “will have a lasting impact on this child for the rest of her life”.
She noted that the trauma was made worse by Mr X pleading not guilty, which meant the girl had to come to court and give evidence against him.
Defence lawyer Dantae Williams said a sentence of two to three years would be “sufficient and adequate”. He pointed out that Mr X had not been in court since the early 1980s prior to this, and his advanced age will make prison harder for him.
He challenged the finding that Mr X is at high risk of reoffending, and disputed Ms Mulligan’s use of the word “predator”. Mr Williams said the man played an active role in raising his very large family — which includes several other daughters — and continues to be supported by his family.
Mr X, who was dressed in prison orange and flanked by two female prison guards, told Mr Tokunbo: “I want to apologise to the court for the time it’s spent, and I’m still not guilty.”
During the trial, he alleged that the girl, who reported the abuse to a family friend, was manipulated by that friend into telling lies about him.
In a forceful address to the defendant before locking him up, Mr Tokunbo said: “The young lady that came here was a typical innocent young child and she gave evidence like a typical innocent young child. She testified that she still felt for you. There was no indication at all of this child being manipulated and coming up here to lie on you. She still had feelings for you.”
Mr Tokunbo noted: “She said in her victim impact statement, and she said in court, that she didn’t know that what was happening to her was wrong, like any kid who trusts an adult. She only realised what was happening to her was wrong when she read in the paper about another young child being abused and she told someone.”
The Magistrate praised the girl — who was adopted by Mr X as a baby and was not in court yesterday — for the way she testified with “courage and bravery”.
Turning to the defence lawyer’s contention that Mr X is not a predator, Mr Tokunbo told the defendant: “If you’re not a predator, you must be just simply evil”.
He said the only reason he was not meting out the maximum five-year sentence was because the crime committed, although bad, could have been worse in terms of the nature of abuse.
He went on to recommend that Mr X undergo sex offenders’ counselling in Westgate and ordered him to complete two years of probation, which should include drug testing and therapy, after his release.
Mr X, the elderly man locked up yesterday for sexually abusing his adopted daughter, has a lengthy history of violence and sexual assault.The Royal Gazette asked lawyer Rick Woolridge how Mr X could have been allowed to adopt a child from overseas, bearing in mind his history of sex offences and violence. Mr Woolridge was not involved in the current case.The Royal Gazette has sent questions to the Bermuda Government about the case, and will carry the response in tomorrow’s edition of the paper.
In 1954, he was convicted of sexual assault on a male. Ten years later, he was convicted of assaulting a female.
In 1965, he was convicted of assault with intent to rape, and in a separate case, having unlawful carnal knowledge. He was jailed for a total of 11 years.
In 1976 — after his release from prison — he was convicted of assault causing grievous bodily harm to a male. Four years later, he was convicted of assaulting a woman. Two years after that, he was punished for uttering offensive words in Hamilton.
The current case came next — Mr X sexually abused a daughter he had adopted from a developing country over a two-year period. Following that, but before he was charged with the abuse and remanded into custody, he assaulted his ex wife.
He replied: “The overseas authority should have inquired about his criminal record to see if he was suitable for adoption. The Bermuda authorities, when he applied for naturalisation papers for the child, would be aware of the adoption. The question is, are the Immigration department aware of his criminal history? The onus was on the overseas authority to get a background check on the adopting parent.”
Asked whether the Bermuda Department of Immigration would have been aware of Mr X’s history, Mr Woolridge replied: “There should be cross Ministry sharing of information on sex offenders. I don’t know if there is, but if there isn’t, there should be.”