The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charged the 39-year-old vice principal (VP) of a charity school in Bjemina, Thimphu, with nine counts of child molestation and one count of attempted rape of a child above 12 years yesterday to the family and child bench.

Thimphu police arrested the VP, who is from Bartsham in Trashigang, on April 6 after one of the students’ grandfather reported that the principal called them to school and told them that four students had alleged the VP of molesting them.

When police conducted the investigation, they found that the matter surfaced after a girl from the school kept visiting Gidakom hospital since last year although health officials did not find anything wrong with her.

The OAG charges stated that on March 28, another student visited the hospital and when the doctor, noticing something was bothering the student, questioned her, she told that the VP is molesting her and her friends in the class.

The doctor then informed the principal of the school.

The students, aged between 11 to 15 years, alleged that the VP, who teaches them mathematics, openly molested them since the beginning of this academic session.

The charges stated that the nine girls reported that the VP hugged them from behind, touched them inappropriately and kissed them at times.

The girl who first reported about the VP’s alleged molestation also alleged that he tried to rape her in his office last year.

While the nine counts of molestations are graded as a fourth-degree felony with each prison term ranging from three to five years, the attempted rape of child above 12 years is a third-degree felony with prison term ranging from five to nine years.

OAG also requested the court to order reparation to the defendant in accordance to section 36 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004, which states, “A Court may order a defendant to pay appropriate damages or reparation for any loss, injury, or deterioration caused to a victim.”

OAG charges 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.

Tashi Dema