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Sexagenarian grocer arrested for sexually assaulting 15 minor girls near Pollachi

September 18, 2022 05:55 pm | Updated 05:55 pm IST - COIMBATORE

The arrest and interrogation of a 62-year-old grocer from a village near Anamalai in Coimbatore district on Sunday revealed he was a sexual predator who was on the prowl for a few years. Preliminary investigation revealed the man allegedly sexually assaulted 15 girls aged between nine and 13 years.

The accused, hailing from a village near Anamalai off Pollachi, was arrested after a 13-year-old girl told her headmistress that she was sexually assaulted by him when she visited his shop. The girl opened up to the headmaster when the latter conducted an awareness class on sexual abuse for the girl students.

Shocked on hearing the girl’s ordeal, the headmistress asked other girl students if they had such traumatic experiences. Fourteen other girls also told her that the grocer had sexually assaulted and harassed them, too. They told the headmistress that the sexual assaults happened over a period of four years.

The headmistress lodged a complaint at the All Women Police Station, Pollachi, on Saturday. The shopkeeper was booked for offences under Sections 7 (sexual assault) read with 8 (punishment for sexual assault), 9 (aggravated sexual assault) read with 10 (punishment for aggravated sexual assault), 11 (sexual harassment) read with 12 (punishment for sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. He was arrested on Sunday.

Coimbatore District (Rural) Superintendent of Police V. Badrinarayanan said a team of the police had conducted an awareness session at the school a few days ago under the  Project Pallikoodam that aims to create awareness among students on child sexual abuse and equip them prevent and report such offences. “The headmistress got the feedback from students about the awareness session and they raised complaints against the accused,” said the SP.

He added that the police were investigating to find out the actual number of students who were allegedly sexually assaulted by the accused.  

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