x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Private school faces Dh5m lawsuit after sex attack on girl, 7, Abu Dhabi court told

A cleaner at a private school raped a seven-year-old pupil on multiple occasions, a court heard today.

ABU DHABI // A cleaner at a private school raped a seven-year-old pupil on multiple occasions, a court heard today.

I?K, 56, from India, scared the girl into keeping silent about the attacks by threatening to kill her mother, but he was arrested after the young Emirati’s aunt noticed her bleeding from one particularly brutal assault and called police.

The family is seeking Dh5 million in damages from both the school and the cleaner, citing the loss of the girl’s virginity, the psychological trauma she went through and the stigma she will be saddled with.

Prosecutors said the cleaner confessed to the attacks during police interrogation, but he denied the charge when he appeared in the Criminal Court.

“I confessed but I did not do anything,” he said.

He claimed his only contact with the girl was when she and her friends ran into his room to retrieve a ball. “I just pushed her outside the room,” he said.

As the cleaner was questioned by the court, his defence lawyer objected that the police guards were stressing him out.

Chief Justice Sayed Abdul Baseer asked the cleaner if they were troubling him and he replied they were not. The Chief Justice then warned the lawyer for interfering in court procedures.

Hamdan Bu Debes, one of two lawyers representing the girl, said they would be seeking Dh5 million in damages from the private school and the cleaner.

The judge then asked the girl, her mother and aunt, to go to the private hearing room when the public hearing finished. “We want to hear their statements,” explained Chief Justice Abdul Baseer.

Mr Bu Debes asked if the cleaner would be present and the judge replied that he would be.

“But the girl is traumatised and she is so young we ask she is not faced with him,” said Mr Bu Debes.

The judge replied that both sides should be given an equal right of presentation.

All lawyers requested copies of the case files and an adjournment to prepare their case. A new date was not given.

hdajani@thenational.ae