Police probing alleged sexual abuse in kindergarten

2018-05-11 08:00     Comment:1

The Judiciary Police (PJ) confirmed yesterday that they have received parents’ reports about suspected sexual abuse at a local kindergarten, in which two girls are the alleged victims.

The Judiciary Police (PJ) said during a press conference that the parents of the two girls reported the alleged sexual abuse to the police on Tuesday.

A PJ spokesperson said that a male Filipino national in his thirties was being investigated for the alleged child abuse.

Since the parents’ report, the suspect, whose work reportedly included taking care of the kindergarten pupils’ hygiene, has been suspended, according to local media reports yesterday.

In response to yesterday’s media reports about the alleged abuse, the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) briefed reporters on its premises yesterday. Ng Mei Kei, who heads the bureau’s Division of Pre-School and Primary Education, revealed that her bureau “recently” received a few complaints from some parents suspecting that their children were abused in the kindergarten, adding that the alleged abuse was under investigation by the police.

She said the incidents were suspected to have happened last year.

Ng declined to reveal any details of the alleged victims, the exact number of the complaints received, and whether the two alleged victims are still attending the kindergarten.

She also declined to say when the kindergarten became aware of the suspected sexual abuse, and whether it had been involved in any kind of cover-up, only stressing that her bureau was cooperating with the kindergarten concerned.

She did not name the kindergarten.

However, the Portuguese-language daily Hoje Macau, which broke the news yesterday, said the alleged abuse took place at the private D. Jose da Costa Nunes Kindergarten in Avenida de Sidonio Pais.

The kindergarten is owned and run by the Macanese Education Promotion Association (APIM).

The Judiciary Police (PJ) said that the results of preliminary examinations did not show any evidence of the two girls having been sexually abused, adding that they would continue to investigate.

Meanwhile, APIM President Miguel de Senna Fernandes told the Portuguese-language radio channel of government-owned broadcaster TDM that even though the authorities had not found any evidence of sexual abuse, his association would continue to monitor the situation until the end of the police investigation.

“I have been told that there have been no physical signs of sexual abuse. Just as well. We will wait [for the outcome of the investigation], we don’t know what it means,” Senna Fernandes, a lawyer by profession, was quoted as saying, adding that even inappropriate touching would be reason enough to dismiss the staff member concerned.

According to Hoje Macau, the suspect has been employed by the kindergarten for over two years. He reportedly holds a Macau ID card.

Meanwhile, the kindergarten’s parents association yesterday reaffirmed its confidence in the kindergarten’s board of director, according to TDM.

According to DSEJ statistics, the kindergarten had 224 pupils in November last year.

The kindergarten offers a multilingual education in Portuguese, Chinese and English. Many of the pupils are local Portuguese and members of Macau’s Eurasian community customarily known as Macanese.

This photo taken yesterday shows the private D. Jose da Costa Nunes Kindergarten where the sexual abuse allegedly happened. Photo: Iong Tat Choi

Ng Mei Kei, who heads the Division of Pre-School and Primary Education of the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ), speaks to reporters during yesterday’s briefing on the alleged sexual abuse case in a local kindergarten. Photo: Joel Chu


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