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Acting DPP Accused of Victim-Blaming

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Franklyn Williams under fire after comments about a case involving unlawful sex with a teen girl.



NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Franklyn Williams under fire after comments he made about a four-year plea deal his office agreed to in a case involving a 40-year-old man who admitted to having unlawful sex with a 14-year-old schoolgirl while she was in uniform.

Williams suggests the deal was appropriate because, “we have a generation of highly sexualized young people,” who in some cases lack parental guidance.

Jared Higgs has the full story.

Our News reached out to Williams for comment on the case that saw 40-year-old Justin Pratt jailed for four years after admitting to having unlawful sex with and impregnating a 14-year-old girl at his Shamrock Close home.

Williams was asked how he responded to criticism that the four-year sentence was too lenient.

He wrote back: “We have a generation of highly sexualized young people, whether through media or association, and who because of parental inattention, lack of parental oversight and in some cases, tacit encouragement and acquiescence engage in risky behaviours. The facts of this case dictated the course taken.”

Williams’ comments were met with sharp rebuke by many who accused him of victim blaming.

Attorney and gender rights activist Marion Bethel expressed shock at the comments, and questioned how a four-year sentence was agreed to, when section 11 of the Sexual Offenses Act specifically protects girls between the ages of 14 and 16.

That section also sets out a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

In this case, police went to the 40-year-old’s apartment back in January 2020 after an anonymous tip from a neighbor. When officers were outside the apartment, they heard sex noises coming from the inside.

The child, who was putting on her uniform when police arrived, was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital where her pregnancy was confirmed. She told police that she met the man on Facebook.

Hundreds expressed outrage on social media, with many calling for Williams to be fired. Bethel says she isn’t calling for him to lose his job, but she does think he and others need more training.