Cops take four days to report child’s alleged rape
TERRITORY police took four days to inform the public about a heinous incident where a three-year-old boy was allegedly raped by a stranger in the front yard of his Darwin home.
Police issued a statement at 10.36am yesterday, acknowledging the incident had occurred in Karama on "Thursday evening" after a member of the public witnessed the incident.
In 2018, police also did not publicly report the rape of a two-year-old girl in Tennant Creek until it was reported on by the media.
The latest incident comes on the back of police refusing to answer specific questions around the 'cocaine sex' scandal and the sudden resignation of assistant commissioner Michael Hebb. The NT Police's transparency guidelines stating "timely, significant events of likely public interest" or "serious incidents" including serious assault, be considered for public release.
The NT News can reveal a 2019 internal review of NT Police's media unit found it was generally viewed as "obstructive, secretive, and uncooperative" and had a "bunker mentality". Angry Karama mum Rayleen Bain slammed NT Police for failing to inform their community about the child's alleged sexual assault earlier. "It's every parent's worst nightmare," she said.
Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Grieve defended NT Police's decision to tell the public about the incident when they did.
"Protection of the victim's privacy is always paramount," he said. "For this reason we do not disclose names or other information about an incident that may identify a victim of crime. In highly sensitive cases such as an offence against a child, every action is taken with consideration to the protection of the victim and the family.
"In this instance, a man was arrested shortly after the incident resulting in him posing no further risk to other members of the community. Charges were laid on Friday, and the man was remanded in custody.
"The focus needs to be on allowing the investigation to be carried out, with the primary thought being the care and wellbeing of the child and his family."
Police Minister Nicole Manison said she found the incident "extremely upsetting" and defended the police's delay in making the alleged crime public. She said her thoughts were with the boy and his family. "Our police do a fantastic job in some very difficult circumstance and their focus was on quickly catching the offender, supporting the victim and carrying out a thorough investigation," she said.
Karama MLA Ngaree Ah Kit was also contacted for comment but was unable to make deadline for print.
Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro flagged she was open to the idea of establishing a more permanent police presence in troubled suburbs such as Karama.
"I condemn, in the strongest terms, this abhorrent and sickening alleged attack," she said.
"Crime is so out of control across the Territory, if we increased the police presence in every suburb or community experiencing a major crime issue, we'd have a police force of tens of thousands.
"Whether you're in Kintore or Karama, you want more police. But the reality is we don't even have the resources to staff the police stations we have."
Originally published as Cops take 4 days to report child's alleged rape