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August 7, 2009

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Teacher can't disprove girl's accusation

A TEACHER who accused a student of ruining his reputation by claiming he sexually harassed her had his lawsuit rejected by a court yesterday.

The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled the teacher didn't provide enough evidences to prove no sexual harassment occurred and the student wasn't capable of realizing the possible consequence of her claim.

The teacher surnamed Li, 54, began to teach the girl's class history early last year. He said the girl surnamed Tong, 15, asked him to give her and another classmate more help after class on the afternoon of June 16 last year. Tong came to the office alone for the tutoring, which lasted about an hour.

A few days later, Tong posted an article online saying Li harassed her sexually in the office when there was no one else there and later kept sending her text messages.

Li told the court the girl was lying and had destroyed his reputation as a teacher. The school also stopped his teaching work. He wanted the girl to apologize and pay 20,000 yuan (US$2,930) in compensation.

He said there was another colleague in the office when he was tutoring the girl who could prove he didn't act indecently toward the girl.

The court found the colleague didn't stay in the office the whole time. Also, Li did send text messages afterwards, offering to give the girl presents.

The court decided Li didn't have enough evidence to prove no harassment had taken place. It was improper for him to tutor a girl without others present. Besides, he shouldn't send messages that had nothing to do with teaching the girl.

Since the student is still a minor, she couldn't foresee the consequence of her behavior and shouldn't bear the responsibility even though she used some extreme words in the article, the court ruled.


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