Tomorrow will make exactly one week that Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez was charged with six counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon two minors. The Orange Walk East Area Representative is scheduled to reappear in court on April 13th. So far it is not yet known if Mendez will step down as Area Representative of the East automatically triggering a bi-election. What we do know though is that following Mendez’s indictment the P.U.P removed him as the chairman of the P.U.P Northern Caucus and suspended him indefinitely from all other Party related duties, responsibilities, and activities.
Both Mendez and his estranged wife Doctor Leslie Mendez have asked for empathy and for the case to be kept out the political lines as they deal with the situation. And today, in the wake of Mendez charges, the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow, urged all persons involved to ensure that this highly sensitive issue is handled with the best interests of the affected children as the priority.
In a release issued today the Special Envoy states and we quote “This is an opportunity to rise above political lines and raise awareness on a serious issue that continues to be seen as taboo. Child sexual abuse, in all its forms, is a horrific reality that shakes the foundation of countless homes across Belize and far beyond our borders; it transcends race, social status and religion. Unfortunately, too many victims and their families are crippled by fear and/or shame and, therefore, cases are often overlooked, undetected or go unreported, especially when the perpetrator is within the home or is a trusted adult.” End of quote.
In the release the Special Envoy encouraged parents and guardians to ensure that the well-being, safety and protection of their children are paramount and encouraged parents and guardians to communicate with their children, ensuring that they have information on sexual abuse prevention and where to turn for help.
And most importantly says Kim Simplis Barrow is that parents and guardians are encouraged to always take action when incidents of abuse are reported to them, regardless of how trusted the accused offender may be.
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