Rabat – A Moroccan court has jailed a lecturer for a year for sexually harassing a female student, a lawyer said on Saturday, as a “sex for grades” scandal rocks the kingdom’s academic institutions.
“The defendant was found guilty of sexual harassment by the Tangiers court of first instance,” said Aicha Guellaa, a lawyer for the student.
He “was sentenced to a year in prison without parole and a fine of 50,000 dirhams ($5,300, 4,700 euros) in damages,” Guellaa told AFP.
“We are not satisfied with this sentence, because these are very serious crimes which will mark the victim forever,” she added, noting that the woman would appeal.
The lecturer, a Spanish teacher at a translation school in Tangiers, was one of several charged in recent weeks as female students in higher education in the country broke their silence about sexual blackmail.
The scandals have provoked outrage on social media in the conservative kingdom, where rights groups have warned not enough is being done to protect women from sexual violence.
On January 12, a lecturer at a university in Settat, south of the port city of Casablanca, was jailed for two years on similar charges.
Four more lecturers are still facing trial, in an affair that has provoked a #MeToo-style online movement.
The trials are highly unusual in the North African country, where despite surveys showing a high level of sexual abuse, many women are reluctant to report incidents for fear of reprisals or reputational damage.
Despite reports of sexual harassment at universities in recent years, few victims have lodged official complaints and those that do rarely see results.
In 2018, after years of debate, a law for the first time provided for prison sentences for “harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation or mistreatment”.
Women’s rights groups say the law does not go far enough.
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