Thinley Namgay 

The Supreme Court (SC) upheld the High Court’s judgment that sentenced a 22-year-old contract teacher to four years in prison for molesting a 16-year-old student in Lhuentse.

The judgment was passed last week.

The contract teacher, Pema Loday, from Sangacholing in Samtse, was sentenced three years in prison for child molestation and one year for official misconduct.  The prison term is non-compoundable, where he will not be allowed to pay thrimthue in lieu of prison term.

The incident occurred in 2019 in the school’s IT laboratory.

Lhuentse dzongkhag court had convicted the defendant for three years and six months in prison on December 1 last year where he was sentenced nine months for sexual harassment and two years and nine months for official misconduct.

The defendant appealed to the HC, where the judgment was partially altered. HC’s June 21 judgment sentenced him three years for sexual harassment and a year for official misconduct.

The judgment stated that the school authorities reported the matter to police after a month.

It was found that three students who went to the IT laboratory found the door latched from inside. They found that the teacher and a 16-year-old student were inside.

The victim told authorities that the teacher asked her to buy some edibles and when she went to the IT laboratory to reach it, the teacher asked her to watch a movie on his laptop and molested her.

The defendant contended that he was not guilty.  He claimed that he was installing software on the computer and chased the students as they were disturbing him.

Courts, however, did not accept his contention, reasoning there was no reason from him to chase other students and keep the victim inside the room.

Edited by Tashi Dema