In what could be one of the world’s worst cases of endemic child sexual abuse within a single school involving only one perpetrator, a principal of a high school in Turkey is being investigated over claims he sexually abused about 100 boys in the space of only three years.
The shocking accusations were brought to light this week after a group of students and their parents sent a complaint to the Turkish government, the daily newspaper Birgun has reported.
Students at the Nuri Bektaş Anatolian High School in the Haymana district of the country’s capital of Ankara wrote a message to the Prime Ministry Communication Bureau (BİMER) over the winter break too afraid to tell other teachers as they did not know who to trust.
The principal, identified only by the initials S.K was only appointed in 2014. He had a private residence at the school and it is this location where it is thought much of the abuse took place. It is believed male boarders at the school were targeted.
“We did not even know which teacher we could ask for, which teacher we could trust. As a last resort, my mind was BIMER,” one student said.
Once the complaint was received, an investigation was launched earlier this month during the holiday period by the Education Ministry
Investigators have interviewed male teachers, some of whom said they had suspicions over the principal’s behaviour but they could not do anything about it due to a lack of direct evidence or testimony from the students.
A parent who did not want to give their name said they were at a loss at how the principal could get away with the abuse for so long.
“This is a small place. Everything is heard and spread in a short time. We have just heard and learned that our nurse has been sexually abused by a man appointed by the school principal,” the parent told Birgun.
“Is it right for this man to teach the school directorate?”
The principal has been suspended from his position but as of yet no criminal charges have been laid.