Independent security review for Frances Bodden Children’s Home

One day after a Cayman Compass report highlighted the silence from government officials following the alleged sexual assault of a child at the Frances Bodden Children’s Home last week, government has confirmed that a review of security operations at the facility will be undertaken. “Given the magnitude of the incident and with the primary focus being the safety and wellbeing of our children, the Ministry will authorize an independent review of the safety and security practices of the home. This will not replace or conflict with the ongoing investigation by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service,” a statement from the Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) stated Thursday morning.

The statement came almost a week after the sexual assault of the child was made public by the police and following multiple Compass requests for comment on the situation, in particular regarding changes to security at the home. According to the police statement, the incident was reported to have taken place on the night of Tuesday, 2 Nov., when a male intruder entered the home. It was reported to police the following day.

Responding to queries from the Compass about the status of the investigation, police responded that the matter was “ongoing” and  “all lines of enquiry are being looked into”.

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It added that no arrest had been made in the case and there were “no further updates at this time”. The Ministry statement on Thursday said, following the completion of the review, it will “liaise across Government and with relevant departments, to ensure that all recommended measures – for oversight and management, security and protection of the residents – are implemented. Likewise, the Ministry will give full consideration to relevant policy, regulation and/or legislation that requires amendment”.

It said that both government entities were aware of the “extremely distressing and troubling incident” which occurred at the Savannah home which is managed and operated by the CAYS Foundation. The Ministry and DCFS have said in the days following the report they have undertaken “all necessary due diligence, and additional security measures have been undertaken at the home – including obtaining the services of a security company, and additional patrols being undertaken by the community Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officer”. It said actions have also been taken to fully secure points of entry and staff are operating with heightened vigilance in their numerous duties.

Defending their silence on the issue, the ministry statement said it “was considered appropriate not to comment publicly until initial due diligence was completed”. Police Commissioner Derek Byrne, in the 4 Nov. police statement, added, “an investigation is being carried out by the RCIPS, and is being led by the MASH Unit. We are also working with the Ministry to assist with enhancing the security measures at the facility”.

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