87.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 16, 2024
HomeNewsLocal news7 Violence-Against-Women Arrests in 7 Days

7 Violence-Against-Women Arrests in 7 Days

Seven violence-against-women arrests in seven days indicated women striking back against abuse, experts said. (Photo: Screenshot of court records)

From Monday to Monday, July 17 to July 24, seven Virgin Islands men were arrested for violence against women — assault, unlawful sexual contact, burglary, mayhem. Six of the accused men were in their 20s. One, charged with rape, was 19.

Women in St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John were allegedly beaten, imprisoned, threatened, and shot at. Some said they were targeted for spurning romantic advances; others had suffered years of domestic violence.

Domestic violence experts said Tuesday men abusing women was nothing new but applauded women speaking out.

“It’s women finally reporting men’s bad behavior, that’s all,” said Lt. Naomi Joseph of the Virgin Islands Police Department on St. Croix. “You should talk up or accept bad behavior, being abused — and everything else that comes with what some people perceive as being in a relationship.”

She said we’re seeing a generation of violent offenders come of age.

“I think they are accustomed to our courts now. They get a slap on the wrist and come back out and do it again,” Joseph said. “We get them as juveniles and now they are adults. Now, we’re getting them as adults.”

When arrested, men accused of violence against women are far from contrite or reflective, she said.

“No, it’s never their fault. It’s always the woman’s fault. She’s the evil one; she did this she did that.,” Joseph said.

It’s likely behavior they’ve witnessed from a young age. People who watch their father abuse their mother are likely to later abuse their own partner, she said.

“It’s what they saw their dad do,” she said.

Anyone who feels they are in an unsafe situation needs to seek help, she urged.

“They should reach out to the Women’s Coalition. These ladies are there to help them, help school them so they can make wiser decisions,” Joseph said. “They are here to help. Don’t stay in the house and be abused. Know that there is someone out there who can help you. And they’ll get you out of it.”

Clema Lewis, executive director of the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix, agreed with Joseph’s assessment of a generation of young men undeterred by a revolving-door criminal justice system.

Too often, Lewis said, the alleged perpetrator is out on bail the same day.

“I was in the police station when a guy got bailed out over the phone. And then I have to take her and put her in a safe place because that’s what we do. I would say 99 percent of the time we have to provide safety for them. And that’s our job and we don’t have no problem with that. I want them to be safe. But I don’t think the community does enough to speak out about how it’s wrong. It’s not OK to beat up women and girls. I kind of think we getting used to it, which is kind of scary,” she said.

More worrying is that the problem isn’t being actively addressed. Not enough men are willing to speak out against violence against women, and the perceived silence of people in power is deafening, she said.

“I don’t think it will stop. I don’t think there are enough people in power to speak out against it. There’s not enough men and people in power to say, ‘We’re not going to tolerate this; we’re not going to continue to let you harm our wives, our daughters, our sisters. It has to stop,’” Lewis said.

Accepting violence against women as normal is a signal something is broken in society, she said.

“It’s like we don’t even like each other anymore,” Lewis said.

Osei Edwards

About a half hour before dawn July 17, a St. Croix woman woke to make breakfast for her boyfriend. Her two small children were still asleep when he left so she went back to bed. She woke again to find a man she’d known since childhood, whom she believed to have severe mental illness, was in her bedroom attempting to sexually assault her, according to court records.

The woman kicked him in the stomach. She pushed him out onto the balcony where he’d allegedly torn a screen to gain entry. As she pushed him, Edwards allegedly grabbed her wrist and said he’d come to get his bicycle. She called police to say it was 23-year-old Osei Edwards.

Edwards had a long history of arrests without conviction for destruction of property, burglary, and assault, allegedly terrorizing his own mother for years. Prosecutors as well as defense attorneys have attempted to have Edwards found to be insane and involuntarily committed to a mental hospital. Bureaucracy and prosecutorial bungling allowed him to go free time and again.

Despite being warned by a judge to stay away from his mother, Police found Edwards in her home, where he’d asked her to make him breakfast, according to court records.

Edwards was charged with burglary, unlawful sexual contact, aggravated assault and battery, destruction of property, and forcible unlawful entry.

Emeka Watson

About 12 hours after Edwards’ arrest, another St. Croix woman called police to report a casual romantic interest, Emeka Watson, had broken into her apartment using a car battery. The woman lived on the mainland and had come back to St. Croix to celebrate her birthday. She had met Watson via social media and the two struck up a non-exclusive relationship. The woman told police she started to distance herself from Watson when the 21-year-old became controlling, ringing her phone repeatedly until she answered.

On July 17, she turned down Watson’s offer of a date and instead prepared to go to a movie with a friend. When Watson allegedly started slamming the car battery against her door, she and the friend locked themselves in a bedroom and called 911. Hearing breaking glass, the two women sneaked out to see what was happening. Watson allegedly briefly left, then returned, threatening to beat the woman. They hid again.

Watson was charged with burglary, attempted aggravated assault, destruction of property, and disturbance of the peace.

MarcAnthony Hosien 

A St. Croix woman came to the police station the evening of July 18 to report the father of her children had beaten her and trapped her in a cistern for arriving late to his home. She told police her romantic relationship with MarcAnthony Hosien had ended two years earlier but he had continued to terrorize her — to the point she did not report the most recent incident for more than a week for fear of reprisal.

Sobbing, the woman told police 22-year-old Hosien hit her repeatedly late that night, dragged her by the hair, took her phone and keys, and removed the cistern cover in his bedroom. He told her to get in, threatening to kill her if she refused, according to court records.

“The victim stated that she feared for her life and safety because she was well aware of Mr. Hosein’s evil tendencies when he is upset, so she followed his orders and went into the cistern,” the police report reads.

When he allowed her to leave the water catchment, Hosien reportedly warned her not to tell police, saying he would kill her or have his friends shoot up her house.

The women did not report the crime and a few days later, on July 15, Hosien asked her to come over again, this time to see their infant child. Hosien was more interested in the woman’s food assistance card, however. When she refused to turn the food stamp card over — saying she needed it to buy milk for their child — Hosien became irate, she told police. He beat her with a rod as she held the child. This time she did go to police.

Hosien was charged with false imprisonment, assault and battery, robbery, and child abuse.

Jordan Clendinen 

Police arrested Jordan Clendinen on St. John July 19, almost eight months after the 27-year-old allegedly shot at a home where his ex-girlfriend had gone to escape him.

Police said the woman had taken refuge at a co-worker’s house Nov. 29, 2022, after a domestic violence incident. Clendinen allegedly showed up looking for her and when he left fired a gun at the man protecting the woman.

Police arrested Clendinen near the St. John ferry dock. He was charged with assault, trespassing, unlawful entry, and disturbing the peace.

Jackoy Mulraine

Police responded to reports of an assault in St. Thomas on the afternoon of July 15 to find a woman beaten badly enough to need medical attention at Roy Schneider Hospital. Details of what happened were not available but police arrested 25-year-old Jackoy Mulraine on July 20, charging him with assault, mayhem, unlawful sexual contact, disturbing the peace, and simple assault.

That same day prosecutors amended charges from New Years Day when Mulraine allegedly carried unauthorized ammunition and an unlicensed firearm with an altered identification number near Sts. Peter and Paul School.

Jose Jaheim Perez 

On Monday, police arrested Jose Jaheim Perez. The 19-year-old allegedly raped a woman who had been braiding his hair on July 11. She told police she turned down his offer of sex before he forced himself on her. Perez was charged with first-degree rape. He claimed the sex was consensual.

Heriberto Perez 

Also on Monday, police arrested Heriberto Perez on burglary, assault, and destruction of property charges related to domestic violence. The 26-year-old Perez allegedly broke into a St. Croix woman’s home early in the morning July 5. The victim reported Perez was armed, physically assaulted her, and broke property inside the house. Court records were not yet available when reviewed by the Source Tuesday. He was due in court Wednesday.

It was Perez’s second domestic violence arrest this year. In April, he allegedly destroyed the apartment of the mother of his child — stabbing a sofa, breaking the baby’s humidifier, spreading bleach on clothing, and cutting the electric fan’s cord. The victim was breaking up with him because he had been unfaithful, she told police. Later that day, she found herself followed by Perez as she drove down Queen Mary Highway. She turned into her grandmother’s driveway to escape Perez but he blocked her in, according to court records.

Video surveillance allegedly shows Perez running up to the car, slamming the woman’s head into the steering wheel, and punching her repeatedly.

Perez was charged with false imprisonment, simple assault and battery, and destruction of property — all related to domestic violence.

In June 2020, Perez was facing charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm, ammunition, and possession of a controlled substance.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.