A school in Aintoura, Mount Lebanon, fired Monday the teacher accused of sexually assaulting and harassing students in his care, and Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour promised a full and transparent investigation of the case.
“We decided to expel the teacher even before an investigation was launched,” said St. Joseph College’s principal Father Antoine Nakad during a news conference Monday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, the incident was tackled in a meeting attended by the Ministers of Education, Social Affairs, and Justice.
Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour said, “The case will be followed up by the judiciary … we agreed on establishing a committee which brings together the ministries of Education, Social Affairs, and Justice.”
Abu Faour added that, “The committee will draft recommendations in an effort to produce a plan of action which will be announced next Monday,” and vowed that concrete results would be reached.
Both Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi and Education Minister Hassan Diab highlighted the need to organize awareness campaigns regarding the threat posed by sexual predators. The ministers said that the campaigns should be conducted collectively by families, schools and public administrations.
Judicial sources told the Daily Star that the teacher’s name is Pierre Shalash and that he is 22 years old.
Sources added that as soon as Shalash leaves the hospital, where he is being treated for injuries sustained in a car accident he had Saturday, the Office for Preserving Public Order and Conduct would investigate him.
In the meantime, the families of the schoolgirls filed a lawsuit against the teacher. The Social Affairs minister filed a similar lawsuit Saturday.
In addition to expelling Shalash, St. Joseph’s Father Nakad announced that the institution would file a lawsuit against him and ask psychiatrists to provide counseling to his alleged victims.
The Association of Teachers in Private Schools issued a statement Monday addressing the incident and expressing confidence in the work of the judiciary.
“We trust the judiciary, so we ask the various media outlets to wait for the results of the investigation. If the teacher is convicted, we will call for very tough punishment,” said head of the association Nehme Mahfoud.
Source : dailystar