Sweeper caught for raping 5-yr-old in Delhi school may be serial offender: Cops
The police confirmed that multiple complaints of sexual abuse have been received against the man, and said that the police have sought the help of an NGO to counsel other children in the school to see if the accused, seemingly a serial offender, abused more students.Updated: Aug 14, 2019 17:23 IST
A five-year-old girl student was raped by a sweeper in a private school in south Delhi over the course of several days, and the revelation of the shocking crime led to parents of three more young students from the school alleging that their daughters were abused by the man, police said on Tuesday.
The sweeper, who was employed in the school since 2008, has been arrested.
Vijay Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (south), confirmed that multiple complaints of sexual abuse have been received against the man, and said that the police have sought the help of an NGO to counsel other children in the school to see if the accused, seemingly a serial offender, abused more students.
The police are also sending a notice to the school authorities to know if they received any complaints against him in the past. “We will also be asking them why a male worker was allowed into the washroom section meant for girls,” said Kumar.
The DCP added that the crime was brought to police’s notice on Wednesday, when the child complained to her mother about constant pain in her abdomen.
“When the mother found injuries on the girl’s body, she took her to a hospital. The child’s medical examination suggested that she had been raped, prompting her to inform the police,” he said.
It was during counselling by a local NGO that the girl said that she has been lured by the school’s sweeper into the bathroom and other isolated places on the compound over several days.
“We arrested the sweeper and booked him for rape and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act,” said the DCP.
The 45-year-old sweeper is a father to three daughters and a son, and lives in a slum not far from the school. The alleged rapist submitted his mandatory police verification certificate in 2017. He worked in the school’s morning shift, the same one that the girl attended.
“The sweeper had been taking the girl to isolated spots in the school building to abuse her since early this month. On one occasion, he took her inside the school’s washroom. The CCTV footage shows him accompanying the girl to the washroom and then walking out with her,” said a senior investigator who asked not to be named.
A school official said that the footage caught on camera was from August 5, when the sweeper was asked to switch off the water cooler. “Since the switch was inside the girls’ washroom, he had gone inside. Footage showed the child entering the washroom moments later,” said the official.
Otherwise, the school said that the washroom for girls is out of bounds for male workers.
The school authorities also said they have never received a complaint against the sweeper in the past. “On getting to know of the sexual assault by a non-teaching member of the school, the principal immediately handed him over to the police and provided all details about him without any delay,” the school said. Ameeta Mohan, principal of Amity International School in Pushp Vihar, said schools should ensure there are no dark spots of CCTV cameras. “For our schools, we do not hire male sanitation workers for the pre-primary and primary section. Even when the students step out of the classroom for activities or to go to the washroom, they are accompanied by teachers or someone that the school is assigned for the job. Schools must also ensure that every spot is covered by CCTV camera.”
Delhi police officers said that in pre-primary schools and primary section, it should be mandatory to have CCTV cameras, which should be monitored, ideally in realtime, by a team. “Conducting police verification is a must. Teachers must tell the children not to fear and raise an alarm if they are grabbed by anyone. Children should be encouraged to play in groups and not play alone in isolated areas. The school must hold counselling sessions with all students,” said a senior police officer, who did not wish to be named.
At least 1,294 cases of rape have been reported from across the city until July 31 this year, four more than the cases reported in the same time period last year.