19-year-old arrested for statutory rape

Thimphu police apprehended a 19-year-old man on 26 October in connection to a rape of a child above 12 years of age. The initial complaint was lodged at Paro police by the parents of the girl since she went missing.

The 16-year-old alleged victim went missing fromthe Haa Mela this year. She is from Paro and is a student in one of the schools in Paro, while the man is from Punakha and is a school leaver. During the course of investigation, it was learnt that the girl was with the 19-year-old man in Thimphu since the time she went missing.

Police said that the two had met through social media (Facebook) and had been in relationship for the past few months. Police said that the law is clear about sexual intercourse with a minor, whether consensual or not, as it is considered rape. Therefore, the man is held, as per the law, for rape of a child above 12 years of age.

As per the Penal Code of Bhutan (PCB) 2004, Section 183, “a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of rape of a child above the age of twelve years, if the defendant has sexual intercourse with a child between the age of twelve to eighteen years.”

Police said that the man, if convicted, would be liable under the second-degree felony, whereby his sentence term will be between 9 years to 15 years. Police said that the man is being held in detention for further investigation.

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