Headmaster 'molests' students, goes scot-free

Police file B report citing lack of evidence; no women in inquiry panel

A high school headmaster with 34 years of service is accused of molesting two of his students and threatening to fail them in examination if they made their ordeal public.

While the students have lodged an ‘attempt to rape’ complaint against the headmaster, the police filed a ‘B’ report citing lack of evidence. The story of shame dates back to February 2012 when G N Moorthy, the headmaster of an aided high school in Nelyadi (Puttur taluk) allegedly molested his student at his house (when his wife and daughter were away).

The girl ran out of his house and informed her parents, who brought the matter to the notice of the villagers. As the news spread, another girl, also a student at the same school, claimed that the headmaster had sexually harassed her for three months (November 2011 to February 2012) and that he had threatened to fail her if she disclosed the matter to anyone.

Separate complaints

Both victims lodged separate ‘attempt to rape’ complaints with Uppinangady police who registered first information reports on March 9, 2012 (FIR No. 35/2012 and 36/2012).

The girls also wrote to superintendent of police, deputy commissioner, deputy director of public instructions, Karnataka State Women’s Commission, State Human Rights Commission, Women and Child Welfare Department, Education Minister Visveshwara Hegde Kageri and Governor. However, nothing much happened except the Women’s Commission seeking a report.

The headmaster who disappeared the day after complaints were filed against him, returned to school three months later soon after the police filed the ‘B’ report. He was booked under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act) also. The Second Additional Sessions Court, Mangalore, has posted the matter to December for further hearing.

A three-member committee formed by the block education officer and a separate police team met a victim for a detailed inquiry. Surprisingly, there was not a woman member in any of the teams, which, according to a member of the child welfare committee, is a clear violation of norms.

Facing questions

“I was embarrassed to answer many questions asked by the members of the Education Department team as well as police who were in uniform,” the victim said.

The exclusion of women doesn’t stop here alone. The school, established in 1977, has no women on its 15-member school betterment committee. There is neither a parent on the panel, a mandatory requirement. According to rules, one-third of the members should be women and one-fourth should be from Scheduled Castes/Tribes.

The Nelyadi gram panchayat, taking note of the incident, passed a resolution in its June 29, 2012 meeting to initiate action against the headmaster. However, it is said his ‘close contacts’ in the Education department let him go scot-free. It was also alleged that attempts were made to ‘safeguard’ the ‘image’ of the school.

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