The two teen sisters were brought to the Child Welfare Committee office in Thalassery for counselling in another POCSO case where two men were booked.

ED Joseph talking to mediaImage credit: Screenshot / Media One
news Crime Friday, December 11, 2020 - 15:17

The former chairman of the Child Welfare Committee in Kannur district has been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO). The Thalassery police in Kannur registered a case against ED Joseph based on the statement of a 15-year-old girl, who alleged that he misbehaved with her during a counselling session. Earlier, the girl’s 17-year-old elder sister, who also attended the counselling session, had reportedly given a similar statement to the magistrate, following which Joseph was removed from the post of CWC chairman.

Officials of Thalassery police confirmed to TNM that a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) case has been registered against the former chairman of CWC based on the girl's statement. Meanwhile, the accused has reportedly denied the allegation.

According to The Hindu, the incident took place on October 21, when the two sisters had come for counselling at the Child Welfare Committee office at Eranholi in Thalassery. They are child abuse survivors and were brought to the CWC office after two men were booked under POCSO case. Following the counselling, the 17-year-old girl gave a statement to the Mattanur Magistrate that Joseph allegedly used derogatory and sexually-explicit language.

A POCSO case was reportedly registered against the official following this and was removed from the post last week. It is following this that the younger sister also gave a similar statement to the Magistrate, following which, a second case was registered against him.

Meanwhile, denying the allegation, Joseph told the media that he only asked the girls whether they engaged in a sexual relationship. He also said that a female councillor was also with him during the counselling. “We have to ask such questions, because if they say that such a thing (sexual relationship) has not happened, then the POCSO case will not sustain,” Joseph had told the media soon after the first case was registered based on the statement of the elder sister last week. However, it must be noted that even if the sexual relationship angle is ruled out, there are other sections pertaining to sexual harassment that would sustain the POCSO case, if the crime is proved. Besides, consensual sex with a minor still warrants punishment under POCSO.

Watch video of the former CWC official's reaction:

Meanwhile, sources in CWC defended the questions and told TNM that during counselling, explicit questions are asked when children or teens tend to not give the exact details of what happened. "It is pertinent to ask such questions, especially in cases related to eloping, where the teens would not reveal full details. It is only after asking questions in multiple ways and numerous times that the complete truth can be found. This is to find the relevant charges under which the perpetrator can be booked,” a CWC official told TNM.

Read:

Why acquittals are so high in child sexual abuse cases in Kerala

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