The headmaster of a government school accused of sexually abusing five girl students in Bhadradri Kothagudem district of Telangana was sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment on Friday, August 27. The 40-year-old accused, Dodda Sunil Kumar, was found guilty under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and a fine of Rs 11,000 was also levied on him. The sentencing was made by the Additional District Judge Mohammad Abdul Rafi at a fast-track special court for POCSO cases.
Eight other staffers of the school, who were co-accused booked for not reporting the offence, were acquitted by the court. The court examined a total of 24 witnesses during the course of the trial. The sentence comes nine months after Kumar was arrested in relation to the case.
The incident came to light in December 2020 when one of the five girls, a seven-year-old class 2 student, fell ill and was taken to hospital for a check-up. Upon questioning, the girl informed her mother about the sexual assault by the headmaster. The mother approached the Laxmidevipally police and a case was registered.
Further investigation revealed that four more girls at the government school were sexually abused by the headmaster. The abuse began in August 2020 during lockdown when Sunil took the girls one by one to his home under the pretext of teaching them. After abusing the girls, he also threatened them with a knife to not tell anyone about the sexual abuse.
Earlier, the POCSO court in August sentenced a Home Guard from Hyderabad to 30 years of rigorous imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl with disability, who had also gotten pregnant as a result of the abuse. The court delivered the judgement 164 days after the case was reported and ordered a Rs 7 lakh compensation for the sexual assault survivor. The incident came to light in February this year when the minor girl was found to be five months pregnant. The pregnancy was later terminated.