Headmaster jailed 2 years for fondling student

A Headmaster at a college in Epworth who fondled an 11-year-old student because she had school fees arrears was awe-struck after he was slapped with a two years prison term.

Itai Johannes, 28, a headmaster at Beacon of Hope Academy was convicted of indecent assault when he appeared before Harare magistrate Victoria Mashamba this week.

Mashamba condemned Johannes’ conduct and said a custodial sentence that would deter would-be offenders was called for.

“This court will not tolerate such behaviour as that of the accused person. The complainant looked up to him as a leader but he breached that trust bestowed upon him by the minor and other parents who have their children enrolled at the college,”Mashamba said.

“It was unfair for the accused person to sexually violate the victim because of school fees arrears and precedence should be set.”

Mashamba sentenced Johannes to 24 months in prison before suspending 12 months on condition of good behavior.

Johannes will serve an effective one year.

Prosecutor Peter Kachirika proved that on May 9 this year the victim went to school and was instructed by her teacher (Mr) Terera to report to Johannes’ office after her lessons.

When other students were leaving for home the minor went to the office and was told that she had outstanding school fees arrears.

Johannes was advised by the victim that her aunt was going to settle the debt.

He then dismissed the minor but before she left, held her hand saying it was smooth.

He then began fondling the child’s breasts “promising to take good care of her and provide for all her needs”.
The juvenile left the room and went back to her classroom but immediately left for home feeling disturbed by what her headmaster had done to her.

She went to her aunt’s residence and narrated how Johannes had abused her.
Johannes followed up on the victim but instead proceeded to her grandmother’s place and pretended to ask for her whereabouts.

Since Johannes is known in the community as the principal of the school most children in the area attended, the grandmother told him that the victim had gone to her aunt’s house.

In a bid to conceal the offence Johannes misrepresented to the grandmother that he applied minimum force on her because she had been mischievous.

Johannes then asked the grandmother to escort him to the aunt’s residence.

When they arrived Johannes was embarrassed by the aunt who reprimanded him for abusing her niece.
Johannes attempted to run away but was caught by members of the public and dragged to the police.  —Tarisai Machakaire

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