A formal complaint has been lodged with the Wangduephodrang police station against a 73-year-old man accused of molesting a 10-year-old girl since last year. This has also raised the issue on what defines molestation as the Penal Code of Bhutan merely states the crime as “the offence of molestation.”
According to Section 203 of the Bhutan Penal Code, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of the child molestation, if the defendant molests a child,” and Section 204 says, “The offence of child molestation shall be graded as a fourth degree felony.”
On questioning the Legislative Committee Chairperson of National Assembly, on what defines molestation, MP Lekey Dorji said, “Molestation means fondling and other acts of sexual nature, but without actual penetration, and there is no definition in the Act itself. It is as defined in the English Dictionary. I think a revisit of the Penal Code, on this account, may not be required.”
It has been alleged that the 10-year¬old girl was repeatedly molested by the suspect since last year. The father of the victim made the formal complaint with the police against the suspect on May 5.
At the initial period, the suspect was charged of raping the minor, however, the medical report ruled it out as there was no penetration, but confirmed that molestation had taken place.
Based on the offence of child molestation, the 73-year-old suspect was arrested and detained by the police.
There are also witnesses to the crime as during all the three occasions, when the girl was molested, the suspect had given money to the minor to keep silent about the matter, according to police.
The suspect was arrested on the same day when the case was registered with police, and he has denied the allegations.
The suspect is from Khamey village under Tshogom gewog and is believed to be a farmer by occupation. The victim is a class IV student and belongs to the same gewog.
The suspect has been charged with the offence of child molestation by the police and the case has been forwarded to Office of Attorney General (OAG) on Thursday.