A letter of complaint has been sent to Chief Education Officer, Marcel Huston, seeking the immediate suspension of a male teacher attached to the Bishops’ High School, who is accused of preying and having sex with his female students.
The complaint, which was written by Cultural Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Ruel Johnson, was copied to Nicolette Henry, Minister of Education; Khemraj Ramjattan, Vice-President and Minister of Public Security; Amna Ally, Minister of Social Protection; Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health; Basil Williams, Minister of Legal Affairs and George Norton, Minister of Social Cohesion (Culture, Youth and Sport).
In the letter, Johnson detailed numerous reports he received from present and past students of the teacher, who allegedly sexualized his lessons, had inappropriate conversations with female students and engaged in multiple sexual relationships with female students. Johnson has so far compiled a list of approximately 30 victims.
“After inquiries, a former student confirmed for me that she had entered a sexual relationship with [name provided] while she was in 5th form at the school. She related that he made sexually inappropriate contact with her a month before her 16th birthday, reminded her a few days before her birthday that she was approaching the age of consent and a few weeks after that, began a sexual relationship with her inclusive of penetrative sex,” Johnson stated in his letter of complaint.
He further noted that this would be a pattern he came to recognize from multiple victims who confided in him since. News Room understands that the 39-year-old teacher in question has been in the profession since he was 19-years-old; however, most of his alleged victims are from the Bishops’ High School, where he has been employed for the last ten years.
He reportedly taught at the Central High School, The Business School, Christ Church Secondary, School of the Nations and the Richard Ishmael Secondary School.
Johnson said he was contacted by former victims, friends and relatives of former victims who were subject to or aware of the teacher’s targeting of young students through several educational institutions.
“These stories of abuse begin in the late 1990s beginning at Central High School, and follow his career through attachments at Christ Church Secondary School, Richard Ishmael as well as the private institutions, The Business School and The School of the Nations. I’ve also gotten reports of his activities extending to private lessons. His victims altogether may very well be in the hundreds over the past twenty years,” Johnson stated in his letter.
One victim reportedly told Johnson: “I did a summer class with him at Richard Ishmael and he used to trouble me all the time I hated it and wanted to leave. I complained to the people in charge and they asked me to not tell my parents etc. He even invited me at his house on Durban street. I was in high school at East Ruimveldt. He taught Social Studies that year.”
Students reportedly told Johnson that the teacher would contact them via Facebook or WhatsApp and initiate a sexual conversation.
“He deliberately placed particular emphasis on girls with problems at home, and would initiate sexualized conversation just before their 16th birthday, or just after with comments like, ‘You’re now 16, the age of consent.’ Some resisted him, others fell prey to the grooming, particularly those with home issues,” Johnson was told.
COVER UP AT BISHOPS’
Meanwhile, Johnson said there is a huge cover-up of the issue at the Bishops’ High School, where officials basically swept the complaints under the carpet. According to Johnson, students identified a key person responsible for this systemic repulsion of complaints against the teacher.
As such, Johnson said, “I have no confidence in the school administration to internally deal with this issue at any level, and am adamant that this is a serious enough issue for the Ministry to act condignly and comprehensively upon.”
He told News Room that the teacher’s actions were “normalized” at the school, to the extent that students did not see anything wrong with his behavior but when students did complain to the school’s administration, “a former Principal and one teacher, in particular, berated the students and told them they were lying,” Johnson told News Room.
Johnson in his letter to the Chief Education Officer also recommended that the teacher is located immediately, his passport is secured or all ports of entry prevent his exit from Guyana.
The Sex Offences Act 2010 of Guyana states that “any person who is in a position of trust in an educational institution (Section 19, 1(c)) and engages in penetrative sex with a child under the age of 18 (Section 18, 1) is liable under 18, 3 (a) to “on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life.”
News Room contacted Head Teacher of the school, Winifred Ellis for a comment on the matter, however, she said she was in a meeting and could not provide a comment at this point in time. Reports also indicate that the teacher did not show up for work today.