Sun | Nov 28, 2021

CPFSA: Children safe after deadly ritual

Published:Tuesday | October 19, 2021 | 12:09 AMKavarly Arnold/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) has reported that the 15 children who were present during a bloody ritual at the Dr Kevin O. Smith-led Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries in Paradise, St James, on Sunday are safe.

The police moved in on the location after receiving credible reports that the cultish group was in the process of sacrificing members of the congregation, who the leaders deemed as not properly cleansed to be taken on a heavenly mission, via an ark.

About noon yesterday, the children, all clad in white, were transported in the back of a police truck to the St James Family Court, which had a special sitting to look into their plight.

They have been in state care since the deadly incident.

Eric Vassell, CPFSA regional director for western Jamaica, told The Gleaner that steps are being taken to put the children in a safe environment. However, he declined to speak about what transpired in the courtroom due to the sensitive nature of the matter, which is still under investigation.

“The CPFSA staff came out in full force today to provide support to the families that have been affected and to ensure we have a smooth court sitting. We are still working out the issues and [logistics] as to where they will be going and all of that,” Vassell said.

He said that urgent steps will have to be taken to help heal the psychological scars that the children may have suffered as a result of the deadly violence.

“Because of the trauma and impact that this would have had on them, we have to provide as much psychological support as possible,” said Vassell, noting that a psychologist could be engaged as soon as today to begin sessions. “Healing is going to take place over time, but intervention is going to be key.”

kavarly.arnold@gleanerjm.com