An awareness programme on child sexual abuse organised in schools under Coimbatore rural police limits led to the arrest of a 62-year-old man on charges of molesting some 15 girl students over a period of four years. The case came to light when a 13-year-old girl student who attended the ‘Project Pallikkoodam’ programme revealed the alleged sexual abuse she faced to the school headmistress.
Coimbatore SP V Badrinarayanan said the awareness session was conducted by women’s help desk officials to sensitise students on child sexual abuse. “Following this, a school headmistress received feedback from students in which one of them revealed the incident,” he said. The accused has been arrested and the statements of all victims have been recorded by officers of Pollachi all-women police station.
A senior officer familiar with the case said it was reported to the police Saturday. Soon after the student shared her experience, the headmistress enquired with more students about similar cases. “Some 15 of them had specific complaints against the accused, who was running a grocery shop in Coimbatore. All victims were in the age group of nine to 13,” the officer said.
After the headmistress reported the matter to the police, the shop owner was arrested under Sections 7 (sexual assault), 8 (punishment for sexual assault), 9 (aggravated sexual assault), 10 (punishment for aggravated sexual assault), and 11 (sexual harassment) read with Section 12 (punishment for sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
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