Jiangxi teacher abused at least eight girls, parents say

Families disclose another potential victim at Jiangxi primary school as they recount officials' efforts to get them to drop their case

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 August, 2013, 3:36am

Parents of Jiangxi girls sexually assaulted and infected with genital warts by their primary school teacher said yesterday that at least one more child was abused - bringing the potential number of victims to eight.

The parents disclosed the new details as they discussed their difficulties petitioning for justice. Tao Biaogong confessed last month to molesting seven girls, aged eight and nine, at Shangyuan Primary School under Ruichang city, according to local police.

The case came to light only after one of the victims visited her parents, both migrant workers, during the summer break. The mother found that her daughter's genitals were covered with red and white bumps that were later confirmed to be highly contagious warts that contained a strain of human papillomavirus. The discovery led to the revelation that five other girls in the same class were suffering similar symptoms.

A seventh victim changed schools this year, and one parent said the girls had talked to each other about what had happened.

"The girls said there were at least eight of them, as they often whispered their secrets to each other. They said the seventh girl switched schools and the eighth one emerged recently to seek treatment after Tao was arrested," said Wen Xuegan , 30, one of the fathers. "Her condition was not as severe as the others, so she was in hospital for just a week."

The sexual abuse of the girls began in Primary One and lasted until the end of their Primary Two school term. The girls are all "left-behind children" who live with their grandparents while their parents seek better-paying jobs in prosperous coastal cities.

Since July, the parents have petitioned the Ruichang city government more than a dozen times, seeking justice, but were brushed off each time. Last month, they were offered 50,000 yuan (HK$62,900) if they agreed to stop pursuing the matter.

"Parents, including my wife who is two months pregnant, were dragged away by security guards as city leaders refused to let us in the building," one of the fathers, Wu Xueren , said.

Another father, Wen Taisong , 30, added: "A deputy mayor in Ruichang threatened us not to make a big deal out of it or he would have us locked up."

The parents, who have very little education, are struggling to seek justice. They have yet to hear from police more than a month after reporting the abuse.

Parents sent three of the girls to a bigger hospital in Jiujiang on Monday, hoping for better medical treatment after finding facilities at the local hospital in Ruichang were inadequate. But they were disappointed to learn that the Jiujiang hospital also lacked proper equipment to run thorough examinations. They will also have to pay their own medical bills, but do not know how much they will cost.

"We've all lost our jobs after being absent from the factories for so long. Now we pay our own medical bills," one of the fathers said. "I don't know how long we can last."