A male kindergarten assistant facing sexual abuse charges has been released on his own recognizance, the Public Prosecution Office (MP) has announced.
Speaking during a press briefing on Friday, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Ho Chan Nam had announced the suspect’s transfer from the police to the Public Prosecution Office for further questioning.
Ho identified the suspect as a 26-year-old non-resident worker from the Philippines surnamed De Leon. Earlier last week, the Judiciary Police had told the media that the suspect was in his thirties.
Ho said that since last Tuesday the police had received three separate reports from parents suspecting that their daughters were sexually abused by the suspect. One of the three girls was allegedly abused by the suspect as early as at the end of last year.
Ho did say how many times the girls were allegedly abused by the suspect.
Portuguese-language newspaper daily Hoje Macau, which broke the news early last week, said the alleged abuse took place at the private D. Jose da Costa Nunes Kindergarten, a kindergarten owned and run by the Macanese Education Promotion Association (APIM), in Avenida de Sidonio Pais.
The suspect, whose work reportedly included taking care of the pupils’ personal hygiene, has been suspended since the parents’ reports, according to local media reports.
Ho said that the results of preliminary medical examinations did not show any evidence that the three girls had been abused. However, he noted that the suspect might have touched the girls’ genitals and abused them while he was alone with them. Ho also noted that the kindergarten didn’t have clear instructions for employees on how to clean the body of their pupils.
The Public Prosecution Office said in a statement on Saturday that the suspect was facing sexual abuse of children charges in accordance with Article 166 and Article 172 of the Macau Penal Code, the latter article referring to victims under the age of 12. If found guilty, the suspect faces a prison term of one to 8 years.
The suspect has been released on his own recognizance and ordered to regularly report to the police.
Meanwhile, Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) Director Lou Pak Sang yesterday spoke to reporters about the case on the sidelines of an activity at Saint Paul School.
Lou said that the kindergarten might not have been “sensitive enough” concerning such incidents, and also failed to report them in due course. He added that his bureau would investigate whether anybody at the kindergarten should be held responsible for the incidents, after receiving a report on the matter from the kindergarten on Thursday.