Mentally disabled sex offender sent to the Farm

A mentally disabled sex offender was sentenced to three weeks at the Prison Farm yesterday to allow a psychiatric hospital to prepare to look after him.

Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe also reminded the mother of Khayriek Woolridge, 27, who was present at court, that her son was a good person despite his past actions, during a hearing at Magistrates’ Court.

Mr Wolffe said: “He made a mistake — a pretty bad mistake — but that should not define who he is or who you are.”

He added: “I am aware of the monumental work and patience and love that you have given to Khayriek over the years.

“I know this must be a stressful situation for you and a stressful time for you, but I just want to let you know that Khayriek’s issues are not because of you.

“You put a lot of work in and I just want to kind of acknowledge that that’s appreciated by us.”

Mr Wolffe was speaking after Woolridge, from Smith’s, was sent to jail and given two years’ probation for a breach of an earlier probation order.

Woolridge was sentenced on July 17 to time served and two years of probation after he admitted two counts of committing an indecent act in front of a girl aged under 14.

Part of his probation required him to stay at a group home at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute for psychiatric treatment.

But Woolridge was forced to leave the home last Friday after he was accused of an assault and destruction of property.

The court heard on Monday that the hospital would not allow Woolridge on the premises until an investigation was completed — which put him in breach of probation and landed him in Westgate prison.

Cindy Clarke, the Crown prosecutor, said that Woolridge did not have any family who could take him in and would be homeless if released from Westgate.

But Ms Clarke said yesterday that MWI had changed their stance and would allow him back into the hospital after his jail sentence was completed.

She explained: “the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute has reconsidered and is hoping to retrain and reoutfit certain premises to be able to assist Mr Woolridge in the future — they just need a little bit of time.”

Mr Wolffe ordered that Woolridge be kept at the Prison Farm in St George’s and take part in overseas treatment programmes as part of his probation if needed.

He also commended the efforts of lawyers, court services and the staff of the Bermuda Hospitals Board and the Department of Corrections for their efforts to help Woolridge get the treatment he needed.

Mr Wolffe said: “I don’t want it to be that there’s any doom and gloom — in this case, and I’m sure in other cases as well, all the stakeholders involved in this matter have come together to ensure that we provide the proper assistance for a person who I believe to be vulnerable.

“In doing so, not only are they assisting Mr Woolridge, but also assisting other members of society.”

Elizabeth Christopher, for the defence, said: “It looks like various agencies and departments are coming together to reach a resolution on this.

“Hopefully, through this kind of working together we can find a broader solution that addresses some of the similar issues that many others are plagued with.”

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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