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Varanasi
Tuesday, January 25, 2022

TN:Government aided Christian school principal and wife arrested under POCSO

A government aided Christian school’s Principal has been arrested for sexually abusing a girl child. He and his wife have been booked under POCSO, the latter for not acting on the victim’s complaint and trying to cover it up. This is the 5th such event of sexual harassment in Christian institutions and by Christians in the last 2 weeks.

James, the 52 year-old Principal of CE Higher Secondary School in Trichy, operating with government aid, has been arrested for sexually abusing a minor girl. The 13 year girl was staying in the hostel, Heber Home, attached to the school along with her 2 sisters and a brother. The children are said to have lost their father recently and the mother allegedly left them.

While other children left for home during Deepavali holidays, the girl and her siblings remained in the hostel due to their unfortunate circumstances. As per the girl’s account James took her to the storage room in the school and sexually abused her. She complained to James’ wife, Stella Mary who works as a teacher in the same school and is the warden of the hostel. But Stella who not only scolded the victim but threatened her to remain silent as well. Distressed and frightened the victim is said to have not eaten or slept properly and fell ill.

Following this, the school sent the children to their relatives. The victim revealed her ordeal to her relatives who then lodged a complaint in the all women police station in Srirangam. Both James and his wife Stella have been booked under POCSO and arrested and the department of school education has terminated them from service. 

CE Higher Secondary School is run by Christian Endeavour Literary Trust which is an FCRA NGO (TN/076040439). Though it was registered as an FCRA NGO in 2019, it hasn’t filed any quarterly or annual returns so far. Christian Endeavour is an international organisation for young Christians to train them as ‘disciples’. CE’s website says its aim is to “INSPIRE, EQUIP and ENCOURAGE churches to Biblically develop youth as Christ-centered leaders”.

Christian institutions are becoming dens of sexual crimes as their status as minorities and foreign connections help them evade punishment. Since November 15, 5 such incidents have been reported in Tamil Nadu alone. On November 15, the 65 year old founder and principal of Annai Amala Children’s Home and St.Agnes Matriculation School in Villupuram was arrested after 2 of the home’s inmates complained of physical and sexual abuse. The girls ran away from the home unable to bear the abuse.

On November 22, a girl student of Gnana Deepam Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Salem had tried to take life after facing sexual harassment from the school’s Karate master for 4 long years. The school is being run using funds received through an FCRA NGO.

On December 2, 2 college professors were arrested for sexually abusing their girl students. One of them worked in St.Thomas College of Arts and Science in Chennai and was a repeat offender. Now a principal of a Christian school has been arrested for the same charges. In two of the incidents the harassment happened to children staying in hostels/homes attached to the schools.

HinduPost has been flagging the issue of sexual abuse in Christian run institutions for a longtime and would like to pose the following questions to the public and the government

  • Why are so many foreign charities (faith motivated) funding so many schools and orphanages in Tamil Nadu?
  • Tamil Nadu is supposedly a social justice beacon, and one which is socially advanced etc.. If so, why are its basic needs such as education being funded from abroad, even now?
  • Why is the Home Ministry not banning foreign funding for our schools and orphanages?

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