Kadeem  Callwood, 19, a United States citizen residing in Cane Garden Bay, was charged with five counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 16, Police Information Officer Diane Drayton stated Sept. 8.

Mr. Callwood was offered bail of $15,000 and is scheduled to appear before Magistrates’ Court on Oct. 15, said Ms. Drayton, who added that other charges are likely to be laid in the matter. Inspector Kendolph Bobb, acting head of the Family and Juvenile Unit, said the law is clear and severe when it comes to sexual contact with a minor.

“The Virgin Islands Criminal Code 1997 stipulates that any male over the age of 14 years commits an offence if he has sexual intercourse with a minor female. A girl under the age of 16 cannot consent to any form of sexual activity,” Mr. Bobb said.

“Therefore, it is an offence for a male over the age of 14 to engage in sex or have any sexual contact with a girl under the age of 16. This is called statutory rape since, according to the law, the girl is considered to be too young to legally consent to have sex or sexual contact.”

Mr. Bobb encouraged parents, guardians, teachers, coaches, school bus drivers, and youth group leaders to spread the word about the seriousness of the crime.

“An offender could be sentenced to seven years in prison for unlawful sexual intercourse,” he said. “Ignorance is not bliss in this case.”