Varsity ‘sex pest’ charged

Varsity ‘sex pest’ charged

MASERU – A National University of Lesotho (NUL) professor was last Friday charged with indecently assaulting students.
Chris Manus, a lecturer and respected professor in theology, appeared before Maseru magistrate, Phethise Motanyane, where he was remanded out of jail on free bail.
Magistrate Motanyane ordered him to report for remands and attend trial.
Professor Manus is charged with contravening section 51(1)(2) read with section 109 of the Penal Code Act No 6 of 2010.

According to the charge sheet, Professor Manus “wrongly, unlawfully and intentionally without the consent of another person, touched that person in an indecent manner”.
The offence is said to have happened at the National University of Lesotho on October 16 last year.
He is accused of touching and kissing a female journalist who is currently studying at the university without her consent “and using force towards her while unzipping her trousers and touching her”.
The charge sheet says he “forced her to perform a sexual act by forcing his hand into (her pants) and attempted to unzip it without her consent”.

The court case comes a few months after students at the university wrote letters of protest to the Vice-Chancellor and management over the lecturer’s conduct.
On January 8 this year, the Students Representative Council (SRC) penned an explosive memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor demanding the dismissal of Professor Manus.

The students’ body said it had received several complaints from female students over the lecturer’s conduct. The students all complained that the professor had sexually harassed them.
The students claimed the lecturer would call them individually into his office where he would “make suggestive, lecherous and sexually implicit commentary about their bodies (in particular their bottom area)”.
The SRC said the students claimed that the professor would “grope and tap them slightly in a randy manner” without their consent.

“Moreover, this morally decrepit behaviour he does publicly in class where he tells the female students to go in front of the class either at the board or to close the door and as they pass by he taps them at the lower bottom area and makes lecherous sounds such as ‘hmmmm, nice butt’ and the like,” the SRC said.
“It is this kind of egotism that prompts the lecturers to act in this morally decrepit, pernicious and insidious manner and … we will eviscerate this scourge and revolting behaviour from our educators”.

The then SRC president, Reatlehile Makateng, told thepost that the professor’s victims had signed affidavits detailing their allegations.
In another memorandum, the SRC implored the Vice-Chancellor to assure the Professor’s alleged victims that they would be protected if they testified against him.

The SRC said it feared that some of the students would be victimised.
It said only a few students were willing to testify with the majority having chickened out because of fear that they would be victimised.

Itumeleng Khoete

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