OPEN LETTER: Commissioner Racquel Berry-Benjamin On CAHS Child Rape Arrest
The Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) condemns the abuse of children in every form and holds the safety and wellbeing of students as top priorities. With the recent arrest of one of our employees for alleged molestation of multiple minors and production of child pornography, my team and I are deeply troubled by these very serious allegations and are cooperating fully with authorities. We have acted swiftly to review our existing systems designed to protect our children and identify ways to further strengthen those systems.
To the parents of the victims, the leadership at the V.I. Department of Education understands your feelings of anger, hurt and disappointment. We are also processing the same emotions, as we, too, are hurt, angered, and disappointed by this situation. We are here to support you in every way and are committed to doing whatever is necessary to ensure the continued safety of the children entrusted to our care.
Virgin Islands community, we all have been impacted by this news. This painful incident is not representative of the Virgin Islands public education system, but it has brought to light areas that need shoring up within our system. We are doing the work and invite you to partner with us. I urge you to intervene and report any suspected child predators and any suspicious activity involving children by dialing 911 or contacting Homeland Security Investigations at 1-800-981-3030. Moreover, I ask you to encourage students to tell a trusted adult, friend, or family member, or dial 911 if they are experiencing any form of abuse.
As this matter goes through the legal system, it is my prayer that justice will be done, and the victims will find healing and peace. Please join me in saying a special prayer for our students today.
Racquel Berry-Benjamin Commissioner of Education