In a shocking incident on Friday, the director of a well-known chain of schools in Thiruvananthapuram was booked by the police under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, for allegedly sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl. What is of bigger concern is that this is not the first time that the man has been accused of sexually abusing a child. He was accused of sexually abusing a nine-year-old girl in 2008 at the same school, but was acquitted due to lack of evidence, police say.
The recent incident allegedly took place on Friday afternoon, inside the school campus in Thiruvananthapuram.
According to the police, on Friday afternoon, Dr Yesodharan allegedly sexually assaulted the class 4 student in a deserted classroom.
"All the children had stepped out of the class and it was empty. This was when the incident happened. The child later complained to her mother that the accused had touched her inappropriately. The parents then came and filed a complaint with the police," Circle Inspector of Valiamala Police Station told TNM.
A statement of the minor was taken on Friday evening and the accused was booked under sections 7, 8 (sexual assault) and 9 (f) (management or staff of an educational institution or religious institution, committing sexual assault on a child in that institution shall be), 9 (m) (sexual assault on a child below twelve years) and 9 (l) (sexual assault on the child more than once or repeatedly) and 10 (punishment for aggravated sexual assault) of POCSO Act.
During investigations in the case, it was revealed that he has been accused of child sexual abuse previously as well. "However, in 2008, the POCSO Act had not come into existence, and we had registered a case under IPC section 377 (unnatural offences) based on the complaint of the minor. He was later acquitted of the charges, possibly over a lack of evidence, and he continued to serve as the director of the school," the Valiamala CI added.
On Saturday, the accused was arrested and presented before the Nedumangadu Judicial First Class magistrate. He was later remanded to judicial custody.
"From our investigations, we have confirmed that the accused is wealthy, is well placed in society and has considerable political connections. He is also a member of SNDP - Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, a charitable organisation, working for the social and economic upliftment of backward communities," the CI added. The accused's social media profile also mentions that he serves as the director of the Sree Narayana International Study Center, Department of Culture, Government of Kerala.