The education ministry warned it will be relentless concerning cases of child sexual abuse after a 63-year-old teacher was arrested for alleged indecent behaviour against a nine-year-old girl at a Limassol private institute.
The man – who was convicted in the past for a similar offence – was arrested on Tuesday and remanded for eight days following a report by a nine-year-old girl and her parents last Sunday to the police that he behaved in an indecent manner towards her at the private institute.
The 63-year-old, who was reportedly convicted in 2014 for a similar case that took place in 2011 and served prison time for a number of months, in 2015 transferred the title deed of his institute to his wife’s name while his daughter is the director.
The education ministry said that following his first conviction it requested he was no longer involved with the institute’s two branches.
In an announcement, the ministry said that following a legal services ruling in 2016 concerning the 63-year-old it had repeatedly asked his lawyer and the owner of the private institute in question for the teacher’s removal from both premises.
It also requested that the man “is not to be involved in the operations of the institutes during their opening hours, while stressing that failure to comply with the above obligation constitutes a criminal offence”.
The lawyer, the education ministry said, had pledged in writing on behalf of the institute, that this request would be respected.
The education ministry said that it too had investigated the case in cooperation with the police and the state legal services and that it “will be relentless in dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors”.
But despite unequivocal statements, checks by the ministry did not prevent the man from continuing to teach at the institute.
According to head of the private institutes association Giorgos Gavriel, authorities make on-site visits to a private institute only when the business owner files to get an operations licence.
Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC radio, Gavriel said that the association has been asking for the establishment of a committee that will carry out on-site visits and checks on each establishment.
He added that private institutes have to submit to the education ministry clean criminal records of their teaching staff but that no checks are made on-site.
The education ministry was not immediately available for comment.