Thimphu Dzongkhag Court on September 5 sentenced 53-year-old Kesang Wangchuk from Thimphu to 10 months in prison for sexually harassing his subordinate.
However, the prison term is compoundable which means he can pay in lieu of his prison term. The court also ordered the convicts to pay Nu 45,000 as compensation.
Kesang Wangchuk is an officer at Royal Tutorial Project (RTP) in Thimphu and the victim, 22, was a contract employee in the same office.
The incident happened on September 7 last year towards evening when the victim was in the office alone.
Kesang Wangchuk, the project supervisor, called her into his office and told her that if she couldn’t fulfil his sexual desire, she would lose her job as he has the authority to extend the contract period. He then sexually harassed her.
One of the victim’s friends saw her weeping and she revealed the incident to the friend. Court judgment also stated that the Kesang Wangchuk had on many occasions sexually harassed her. “He also sent her many inappropriate messages.”
The victim appealed to the police on September 13 last year. Police prosecuted the case and the legal representative of the police appealed to the court to imprison the defendant between one to 12 months.
The medical report mentioned that the victim suffered adjustment disorder with dysphoric mood and disturbed sleep.
The project supervisor was the one who helped victim to get a job at RTP. The victim was only around six months into the job when the incident happened.
One of the employees of the RTP confessed to the police that the officer touched the victim inappropriately on one occasion while they were arranging the office items.
Two days after the incident, Kesang Wangchuk went to the victim’s house with a cake. There were also recordings of a phone conversation between the victim and the defendant that took place on September 8.
Kesang Wangchuk and his two male co-workers tried to change the case scenario. However, what they presented to the police was not matching.
His two friends on September 9 told police that they were in the office on September 7 and the victim cried and went out of the office after Kesang Wangchuk criticised the poem she wrote. On October 4, his two friends said that they were not in the office on September 7 and the victim cried and went out of the office on July 3.
Kesang Wangchuk on September 7 submitted to the police: “On Tuesday, 7th September, I had to comment adversely on some written work she had produced for the office. Her reaction to the criticism was to burst into tears and rush out of the office. At the time two other staff were present in the office.”
On September 17, he reported to the police: “When making my original statement to the police, in the stress of the situation, I regret that there was confusion regarding the two occasions on 3rd September and on 7th September, when she burst into tears on receiving criticism of some work she had done for the RTP.”
“I wrongly stated that on 7th September there were two or three staff in the RTP office when she left my office in tears,” he said to the police.
The judgment said that Kesang Wangchuk being an officer had failed in his responsibility and couldn’t maintain the code of conduct of the office.