School Headmaster Arrested for ‘Unnatural Offenses’

By Salai Thant Zin 21 February 2017

MYAUNGMYA, Irrawaddy Division — The local police force in Irrawaddy Division’s Myaungmya Township on Monday arrested a village school headmaster for allegedly sexually abusing his male students.

“Headmaster U Aung Aung is in custody at the police station. The investigation is not yet finished. After we establish the case, we will bring it to court,” Myaungmya police officer Aye Min Thein told The Irrawaddy.

The 50-year-old headmaster of the high school in Ka Wet village faces charges for “unnatural offenses” under Burma’s colonial-era sodomy law, after one of his former students filed a complaint against him at the police station on Feb. 16.

The student, who was 23-years-old and preparing to sit the matriculation exam at the time, said the headmaster sexually abused him last March.

After receiving the complaint, police arrested the headmaster with the approval of the Irrawaddy Division Department of Education.

There have been several sexual abuse complaints against the headmaster from other students following the first report. Parents and teachers have also filed complaints with the headquarters of the basic education department, alleging that the headmaster had solicited cash contributions from students and donors in the name of school welfare but had lined his own pockets instead.

The Myaungmya district and township education offices, along with the assistant director of the basic education department, have begun conducting an internal investigation into the headmaster.

The headmaster has sued five teachers from his school for defamation, and teachers have reported receiving threats from the headmaster and his two brothers.

Officials from the Irrawaddy divisional government made a field visit on Monday to further investigate the case.

“Our divisional government will protect teachers who are threatened and help initiate legal proceedings to find the truth,” social affairs minister Dr. Hla Myat Thway told The Irrawaddy.

The Irrawaddy Division education department has suspended U Aung Aung from his position and announced that additional action will be taken against him if he is found to have misused school funds.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko