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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Police notice to Delhi school to probe if suspect had abused more kids

The police’s notice is prompted by allegations by at least three other parents who claimed that their daughters too were abused by the same man.

delhi Updated: Aug 14, 2019 00:21 IST
Kainat Sarfaraz and Shiv Sunny
Kainat Sarfaraz and Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Delhi Police said they would send a notice to a private school where a five-year-old girl was raped over several days, allegedly by a sweeper.
The Delhi Police said they would send a notice to a private school where a five-year-old girl was raped over several days, allegedly by a sweeper.
         

The Delhi Police said they would send a notice to a private school where a five-year-old girl was raped over several days, allegedly by a sweeper.

Among other things, the police said, they had asked school authorities if they had ever received any such complaints about the suspect in the past. The police’s notice is prompted by allegations by at least three other parents who claimed that their daughters too were abused by the same man.

The school authorities said that they had never received any complaint against the man in the past, but would take steps to encourage other students to disclose whether they have been sexually abused, in the school or elsewhere. “Once we got to know of the man’s crime, we terminated his services,” said a school official.

A senior police officer, who did not want to be named, said that soon after getting to know of the incident, investigators had begun probing whether the man had targeted more children.

“The girl had said that the man had abused her over the course of several days. The suspect had been working at the school as a sweeper for over a decade. We are seeking the help of counsellors to speak to other children at the school since it is possible that he had been abusing girls over a prolonged period,” said the officer.

The police are also encouraging parents of the three other girls, who were also allegedly abused, to pursue the case against the suspect. “We already have a strong case against the man, but we are trying to get the parents of other children to pursue their complaint forward,” said the officer.

The 45-year-old suspect had reached the school on Thursday to report for work, unaware that the police had already contacted the school authorities and were looking for him. “When he reached the school, we made him get into a car on the pretext that he was required for some work in another neighbourhood (where the local police station is located). It was only when the car entered the police station, did he realise that his game is up,” said an official from the school.

When the man did not return home after work at his usual 3pm shift, his 23-year-old son visited the school around 6pm to learn of his father’s arrest. The man’s son works as a peon in another school in south Delhi.

The police’s notice to the school will also seek answers on why a male worker was allowed to enter a washroom meant for girl students. The school said that the washrooms meant for girls were out of bounds for male sanitation worker, but the sweeper entered the washroom on August 5 after being asked to switch off a water cooler.

“The switch of the water cooler was inside the washroom,” said the official after being asked about why the sweeper entered the place.

The school said that they will extend “all possible help” to the girl to recover from her trauma and also conduct a security audit to ensure the safety of other children.

“We will be educating all our students about ‘good touch and bad touch’ and encourage other children to disclose if they have been sexually abused,” said an official from the school.

The school authorities said they have a two-tier security system in place with a functional CCTV system and security guards deputed in the school. “While there are two female security guards for the school, the pre-primary wing, where the crime took place, has five female nannies,” said the official.

The alleged suspect has been booked for rape and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and has been arrested.

First Published: Aug 13, 2019 22:40 IST

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