PHILIPSBURG–A 36-year-old mother was sentenced Thursday to ten months suspended, on three years’ probation, for aiding and abetting one of her sons in sexual crimes.
During a previous hearing, held June 26, the Prosecutor’s Office initially requested ten months, six of which were to be suspended, on three years’ probation.
Judge Tamara Tijhuis had decided to suspend the hearing to allow a psychologist to draft a report on the woman’s state of mind and accountability.
An investigating psychologist derived at the conclusion the woman was to be held less accountable, which led Prosecutor Tineke Kamps to request a fully suspended sentence.
Jasmain V. of Dutch Quarter was initially charged with six counts of aiding and abetting her 19 and 20-year-old sons in having had sexual intercourse with two younger sisters, who were three and 10 years old at the time.
The brothers stood trial in March. The younger sibling was acquitted of all charges, but the Court found it proven that the older brother had committed lewd acts with his 10-year-old sister between August 1, 2011, and December 31, 2011.
For this crime he was sentenced to 15 months, three of which were suspended, on three years’ probation. The judge also ordered guidance by Foundation Judicial Institutes Windward Islands SJIB, which may include treatment by Mental Health Foundation.
Prosecutor Kamps said already in June that the (partial) acquittal of the sons also had repercussions on their mother’s trial. She said the Prosecutor’s Office dropped five charges with only one count of abuse of the 10-year-old daughter remaining.
The mother denied she had had any knowledge of what had transpired between her children. She said she was not at home, as she was working to provide for her children. “They never tell me anything of what happens between them nor did my daughter tell me she was molested,” she told the judge at the time.
However, the Court found it proven that her children had spoken to her about the incidents, while her daughter had also informed her care coordinator.
The domestic aid is mother to 10 children, the youngest of which is 11 months old. Her two sons are still living with her. Her two daughters are now in a foster home. Two other children are living in French St. Martin.
Prosecutor Kamps said the defendant had forsaken her duties as a mother in providing her daughter with a safe environment. She was considered a “passive accomplice” to sex crimes.
Attorney-at-law Brenda Brooks said her client had not acted on purpose and also pointed out she was unable to take care of herself. The lawyer said she was pleased with the fact that the Prosecutor had not recommended imprisonment, as this would only have made matters worse.
The psychologist stated in her report that the woman was of good will, but unable to provide her children with a safe environment.
“Some people have a difficult life,” the Judge told the sobbing defendant. “I assume that you wanted to take good care of your daughters. You worked to put food on the table, but a mother also needs to ensure her daughter is safe and able to grow up in a safe environment and develop into a strong woman. Despite your own problems you should have tried to deal with this situation. It is a shame that that did not happen.”
The Judge considered the Prosecutor’s demand a suitable punishment and sentenced accordingly.