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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Chandigarh’s #MeToo: Another alumnus speaks up against St Stephen’s founder, Carver calls it conspiracy

Delhi-based freelance journalist Sanjay Austa posted the initial allegation shared the transcript of a video chat he had with Navin Chettri, who studied at the school between 1982 and 1988 and is currently based in Colorado, US.

punjab Updated: Oct 15, 2018 10:17 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
(Representative image )

Two days after an alumnus shared his #MeToo account on his personal blog, accusing St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, founder principal and director Harold Carver of making a pass at him, another former student has come forward and called Carver a ”sexual predator”.

Delhi-based freelance journalist Sanjay Austa, 42, who on Friday posted the initial allegation, on Sunday shared the transcript of a video chat he had with Navin Chettri, who studied at the school between 1982 and 1988 and is currently based in Colorado, US.

HT independently verified the allegations in a video chat with Chettri.

Chettri claimed that he was cross-examined in court as a witness in a sexual harassment case against Carver 30 years ago and was also a victim to the harassment. Carver had been sentenced to one month in prison after three school hostellers accused him of abuse. However, he did not spend any time behind bars and was later acquitted.

Originally from Kolkata and a hosteller, Chettri said after he confided in his brother, the latter “was scared” and told him to move to Kolkata when he was in Class 9.

Commenting on why he chose to speak out after all these years, he said Austa’s blog and media reports made him realise that he did not want to take those bad memories to his grave and wished to speak out before it was too late. A former musician who had a band of his own, Chettri moved to the US 12 years ago and runs an online casino in Colorado.

A member of the school soccer team back in the day, Chettri said the then principal used it as an excuse to spend time alone with the teenager and took him to a room when he received any injury.

“He used to call us there (a room) and give us massages over there. That’s how he used to touch our private parts,” he alleged.

When the then 15-year-old chose not to give in, “(Carver) punched. Because he was trying to abuse us.”

‘Matter settled in court’

Responding to the allegation, St Stephen’s School founder principal and director Harold Carver said he remembers Navin Chettri. He, however, rubbished the accusations.

Carver said Chettri had given his statement before court, but it was discharged (not taken into consideration).

“The matter came to court 30 years ago and I was sentenced for one month. After I appealed the conviction, I was acquitted. The matter has been settled in the court. Now it just seems like a conspiracy,” said Carver.