Lagori Coach Sentenced to Five Years for Sexually Harassing Students During State-Level Tournament Trip


A 42-year-old lagori and wrestling coach at a public school in the city has been sentenced to five years imprisonment by a special court for sexually harassing students under the guise of a state-level sports tournament. The coach, who was found guilty under charges including aggravated sexual assault as per the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, had taken the students to a resort instead of the tournament, where the incidents occurred.

The prosecution presented evidence, including testimonies from five students who deposed about the sexual harassment they endured. The accused, who had been appointed as a lagori coach for girls in Class 7 to Class 9, was also coaching them in wrestling and allegedly touched one of the students inappropriately during practice. In 2016, he informed the girls about a state-level lagori tournament in Alibaug and collected money from them for expenses. However, he later claimed that the tournament was postponed due to heavy rain.

On July 30, 2016, the accused instructed the students to assemble near his home to travel to Alibaug. One student dropped out due to health issues, but the remaining 14 girls, accompanied by a female staffer and the accused, went on the trip. Instead of heading to the tournament, the coach took them to a resort in Pen, Raigad district. Police alleged that at the resort, he made the girls queue up after a round of water sports and subjected them to inappropriate touching. Some of the students were also touched inappropriately during the bus journey.

Upon returning home, one student confided in her parents about the incidents. The parents reported the matter to the school principal, but claimed no action was taken. They subsequently wrote to the Mumbai police commissioner, leading to the filing of an FIR against the accused, who was arrested in September 2016 and granted bail in January 2017.

During the trial, the coach denied the allegations, stating that he had taken the girls to the resort at their insistence. He also questioned why the girls did not immediately report the incidents to the female staffer or the bus driver. However, the manager of the resort confirmed that the accused had pre-booked the facility for two days, supporting the prosecution’s case.

The trial included testimonies from ten witnesses, including the five students, a parent of one of the complainants, the resort manager, and the investigating officer. The court ultimately found the coach guilty, emphasizing the gravity of his actions by sentencing him to five years of imprisonment.


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