The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) in Trashigang completed its investigation in the Sherubtse harassment case and its investigation has found both sexual harassment and harassment.
Trashigang Police charge sheeted the case today. The case was reported on 5 Nov 2021 and police investigation revealed that the assistant lecturer Dorji sexually harassed female students through text messages asking for midnight rides, commenting on their personal character and harassment through body shaming.
He is charged under section 205 of PCB for 10 counts of sexual harassment, under section 462 for 5 counts of harassment.
The main evidence for sexual harassment is in the WhatsApp messages Assistant Lecturer Dorji Phuntsho sent to two of his students incessantly asking for late night rides and making inappropriate comments and remarks.
Under harassment the incessant body shaming of a female student is the main evidence.
The police official said that the chat messages asking for late night rides from two female students by the Assistant Lecturer clearly shows what his intention was. This was despite he being their teacher.
The RBP said that the above will fall under the penal code’s definition of sexual harassment.
He said that the body shaming of the student also comes under the penal code’s definition of harassment.
The RBP will prosecute the case given that the two charges above are under petty misdemeanor.
Section 205 of the penal code says ‘A defendant shall be guilty of sexual harassment, if the defendant makes unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal abuse of a sexual nature.”
Section 462 of the penal code says, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of harassment, if the defendant engages in a course of conduct that places a person in reasonable fear of emotional or mental distress.”
A petty misdemeanor leads to a minimum of one-month imprisonment and a maximum of one year.
However, if the assistant lecturer is convicted then apart from the legal consequences he will be terminated from service.
Assistant lecturer Dorji Phuntsho only faced withholding of promotion by three-years by Sherubtse College despite being accused of harassment by 10 female students.
The lecturer asked girls to go on late night car rides, made inappropriate comments, engaged in body shaming and also carried on the harassment in class according to the girls. They also alleged that the marks were not given in a fair manner and he did not conduct himself professionally in class.
One of the girls had suicidal thoughts while another had panic attacks and many of them avoided his class.
Subsequently, a former student from College of Language and Culture Studies (CLCS) in Taktse also alleged the same against the assistant lecturer and she had a chat history that showed the lecturer accepting he dated and kissed a student there.
An allegation also came up against the lecturer while he was a history teacher at Paro Yozerling Higher Secondary school.
The lecturer completely denied the CLCS and Paro case while saying that he meant a group car ride in Sherubtse though the messages clearly shows him meaning a solo ride late at night.
After this paper reported the case in a series of stories the RUB sent its own investigation team and handed over the case to the RBP.