US teacher 'molested pupils in library at French school in Shanghai'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 8:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 12:49pm

Shanghai police alleged on Friday that a 32-year-old American teacher at an elite French school in the city had repeatedly taken six children separately to the school’s library or other places before forcing them to strip and molesting them.

Agence France-Presse had earlier reported that seven families had filed formal accusations of sexual abuse and rape of pupils against the teacher, surnamed McMahon, who taught English.

He was detained last month after a French girl studying at the Pudong campus of Lycee Francais de Shanghai told police that she had been molested by him several times since September.

A statement posted on the Shanghai police microblog on Friday said the six children, four girls and two boys, were aged between six and 10. Five were French and one was Italian. During the police’s investigation, a six-year-old American boy told police he had once seen the teacher molest a classmate.

The police said they had asked prosecutors on Friday for approval to formally arrest the man on child molestation charges.

A former teacher at the same school, also an American, had been extradited to the United States at the end of last year on similar charges.

A statement posted by the school on its website on Friday said: “Based on information provided by the police, there would be no link between the present situation and that of a former teacher from the school extradited to the US for acts of sexual abuse of minors committed during private lessons and who was no longer employed at the LFS at the time.”

This private school has about 1,600 pupils aged between three and 18 in its two campuses in Shanghai. It is part of an international network of schools managed by the French government through the Agency for French Teaching Abroad.

The school said it had put in place psychological support initiatives to help families, children and teachers who felt they needed such help.

Taking photos in front of its Pudong campus was forbidden by security guards on Friday and they also disrupted attempts to interview parents dropping their children off at the school in the morning.

A French woman who has three children studying at the school said she had never heard of such incidents until recently.

In April, a British man who taught at an international school in Beijing was arrested by police after media reports that the British police had put him on a wanted list for distributing indecent images of children and raping a child.

The French consulate in Shanghai said its “consul general is dealing with this issue very seriously, but does not comment on ongoing legal procedures”.

The US consulate in Shanghai did not respond to inquiries.