Thimphu dzongkhag’s child and family bench on December 20 sentenced the 39-year-old vice principal (VP) of a charity school in Bjemina, Thimphu, Ugyen Wangchuk, to 10 years imprisonment. 

Ugyen Wangchuk who also taught Mathematics at the school was sentenced on the accounts of child molestation and one count of attempted rape of a child above 12 years. 

The VP from Bartsham, Trashigang was sentenced as per section 203 of the Penal Code of Bhutan (PCB), which states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of child molestation if the defendant molests a child. Section 204 of the PCB grades the offence of child molestation a felony of the fourth degree.

The defendant was also convicted as per the Penal Code (Amended) 2011 section 184, which states that the offence of rape of a child above the age of twelve years shall be a felony of the second degree. Section 134 (a) states that unless otherwise indicated in the Penal Code, the defendant who is guilty of the offence of criminal attempt, solicitation, or criminal conspiracy shall be liable to a third-degree felony if the offence is of a first and second-degree felony. 

The case came to light after a doctor at Gidagom hospital informed the school principal about children being molested in school. 

The judgment stated that one of the students had first confessed about molestation to the doctor when she repeatedly visited the hospital. 

Thimphu police arrested the VP on April 6 after a student’s grandfather lodged a complaint to the police. 

Although the VP denied all allegations, the judgment stated that the male students during the investigation had also confessed of seeing him molesting the girls during class hours. 

The OAG had submitted that the parents and victims should be compensated as per the PCB. 

However, stating that the incident had not affected the students emotionally, they had performed well in the examinations, and that the parents had not asked for the compensation during the hearing process, the court deferred the compensation.  

In the earlier OAG charges, it stated that the defendant has a criminal record, where the Trashigang dzongkhag court sentenced him to five years in prison in 2004 for the rape of a child above 12 years. It stated that he served two years in prison and paid thrimthue for the remaining three years in 2007.

 Yangchen C Rinzin