The Office of Attorney General (OAG) presented all its evidence and witnesses in the child molestation involving one 39-year-old vice principal of charity school in Bjemina on 28 June.
An official from OAG said that they also presented a definition of child molestation to the court as it is not so clear in the Penal Code of Bhutan, which only states, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of child molestation, if the defendant molests a child.”
OAG’s definition of child molestation is based on Black’s Law Dictionary, which states, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of child molestation, if the defendant has indecent sexual activities with someone below the age of 18 years.”
OAG said if a defendant molests anybody above 18 years of age then the charge comes under sexual harassment. However, in this case, since all the victims are below the age of 18 years, the suspect will be charged under child molestation case. OAG stated that the suspect has touched the girls’ intimate body parts for sexual gratification, which is an element of child molestation, adding that, they have submitted all the statements given by the victims.
“All the statements given by the victims stated the same thing. They stated that the suspect after giving problem solving questions in the class, starts going around molesting students. He has been doing so since the last one year,” the official added.
Meanwhile, OAG presented 24 witnesses; all students including the nine victims and boy students in the class before the court of law on 29th June. The hearing was conducted in the child bench.
The official said that during the time of hearing, the attempt to rape and molestation complainant made clear statements without any hesitation to the court. The OAG said she is not manipulating a thing or lying as her story is consistent.
“She spoke about the reality which happened to her and the other victims,” the official added. Likewise, all the other victims clearly made their statements to the court.
“Some shed tears while presenting their stories in the court,” the OAG official said.
Regarding the attempt of rape, the complainant presented to court that after school, the suspect came by himself to call her, and thereby, he tried to rape her in his office. However, she managed to push him and made her escape.
Moreover, before the court of law, the other witnesses, boys in the same class as the victims, also stated that the suspect did molest their classmates by openly touching, kissing and calling them with individual nicknames.
They also stated that the VP put his hand inside the girls’ kira tops, however, he never subjected the boys in class to such molestation.
In the past, a few of victims had informed their parents about such molestation incidents. However, since the parents had fully trusted the suspect, therefore, they did not take the complaints seriously. Instead they dispelled such incidents as playful jokes played on the girls by the VP.
“It is not that the suspect did not molest them. He did molest them, which is why, the victims informed their parents about the incident,” OAG said, and further adding, “All stated the same thing and this proves that he did molest them openly in class.”
OAG said that their part is done with the evidence and witness submission, and that they will now wait for the final judgment from the court. However, a chance might be given to the suspect if he has anything to say or justify against the evidences.
The suspect made his defense twice before the court of law, where he denied all the allegations made against him, stating that he had merely ‘patted’ the girls.