The girl was subjected to repeated sexual harassment since January, police said. According to the victim, an officer said, she was abused the first sometime “during the last New Year.”
Seventeen men, including a lift operator, an electrician, plumbers, security guards and gardeners who worked with an apartment complex in Chennai have been arrested on the charge of sexually abusing an 11-year-old differently-abled girl for over a period of seven months. The girl was subjected to repeated sexual harassment since January, police said.
According to police, the victim’s family filed the complaint on Saturday after the girl narrated her ordeal to her elder sister. “The victim, a differently abled, lived with her mother in the apartment. Her businessman father and elder sister, who is pursuing higher studies, live in another city. When her elder sister visited home last week, she noticed something amiss with the victim and spoke to her,” police said. Soon after a complaint was filed at the local police station in central Chennai, the case was shifted to an all-women police station for detailed probe.
According to the victim, an officer said, she was abused the first sometime “during the last New Year.”
“As she was differently abled, her mother used to let her play a lot with other children in the apartment. While playing one day, she entered the lift and that was the first time the operator tried to abuse her. The lift operator later brought in his other colleagues. Her mother said she often assumed that the child was playing outside. Most of the incidents happened inside the elevator and even in an empty flat in the complex,” said the officer.
About 60 people are employed with the complex that houses about 400 flats.
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The officer added that the accused also gave the victim substances like Gutkha to sedate her during the abuse. Police has also sent samples of soft drink bottles on suspicion of the culprits having used liquor or other sedatives on the victim.
After a police complaint was filed, the girl was examined by a team of doctors in a government medical college. “Conversation with the doctors helped her reveal more about the abuses,” an officer said.
The 17 accused are in the 20-60 years age group. They are from Ayanavaram, Otteri and Pulianthope — areas near the apartment complex. Police said they suspect the role of five more people and they are looking for them.
After the accused were nabbed on Sunday and Monday, all of them have been charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. They were remanded in Puzhal prison on Tuesday.
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