Several Belize Defence Force soldiers are facing possible disciplinary charges due to allegations of sexual misconduct. Reports are that the victim is a Honduran woman who is yet to file a formal complaint on the incident. Love News understands that the allegations stem from an incident on Sunday evening. We spoke with the Brigadier General Steven Ortega who confirmed the allegations, but indicate that the matter of sexual misconduct against the woman is not what is being investigated.
Brigadier General Steven Ortega, BDF Commander: “We received a similar report however no formal report has been received as yet. We received it from our Guatemalan counterparts and since then we have launched an investigation into the misconduct of the patrol.
Renee Trujillo, Love News What was the complaint in terms of their conduct ? Did they rape somebody? Did they beat somebody ? What was the complaint ?
Brigadier General Steven Ortega, BDF Commander: “He mentioned of a sexual nature, sexual assault but we haven’t received any paper work from them to confirm anything else as yet.”
Renee Trujillo, Love News Are you expecting to get a report from the woman herself?
Brigadier General Steven Ortega, BDF Commander: “Well we’re not sure. We’re dialing that through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
Renee Trujillo, Love News Again let’s go back to the timeline of the incident. You got the report on Sunday but when are they alleging this incident occurred ?
Brigadier General Steven Ortega, BDF Commander: “Same Sunday evening.”
Renee Trujillo, Love News The same Sunday evening ?
Brigadier General Steven Ortega, BDF Commander: “Yes but to tell you we didn’t get any specifics, he didn’t say where the incident occurred or whatever they just said that there was an alleged allegation against our soldiers. So that’s when we decided to launch the investigation. Into our soldiers’ behavior. For the misconduct we will finish that by next week but should any other allegations come up then it depends on when we receive those reports and who will conduct that investigation.”
Renee Trujillo, Love News: So I know with police in the absence of an actual complainant they cannot necessarily try or charge anybody how would this work internally with the BDF if the woman does not come forth to make a complaint?
Brigadier General Steven Ortega, BDF Commander: “That’s why we’re doing our assessment on the misconduct of the patrol not on any complaint from anyone else.”
Reports to our newsroom say that the victim is among the caravan that arrived from Honduras to Cadenas this past weekend. We are following the story.