Chengdu court sentences man to 8 years in prison for sexually assaulting his male students
Updated 22:19, 07-Jan-2022
Yang Jinghao
An archive photo. /CFP

An archive photo. /CFP

A man accused of sexually assaulting his male students over a long period of time was sentenced to eight years in prison by a court in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu on Friday. 

"This is the first case in China that entered the criminal judicial system on the grounds that a male teacher sexually assaulted male students above 14 on a large scale," said Wan Miaoyan, the lawyer for the victims. 

Liang Gang, a former teacher at two high schools in Sichuan Province, was charged with the crime of "forcible indecency" and forbidden from working in the education or training sector within five years of the completion of his prison term. 

The decision was made following a court hearing at the city's Chenghua District People's court.

In 2015, an amendment to China's criminal law altered the victim of a "forcible indecency" crime from "women" to "others," meaning men became also protected by the law in such incidents.

Wan said she hoped the case could be a landmark in further promoting judicial reform in terms of sexual abuse against males.

Between 2016 and 2018, Liang forcibly molested seven of his students, including some graduates, in his home and hotels, the verdict said. Two of the victims were minors.

According to the Criminal Law of China, "forcible indecency" can be interpreted as a crime where the perpetrator acts indecently towards others against their will, such as touching their private parts.

The case was heard at the Chenghua District People's Court. /CGTN

The case was heard at the Chenghua District People's Court. /CGTN

"We finally got a result after about two years of efforts. But I'm still disappointed with it, as we expected a 15-year imprisonment," Yang Yang, one of the victims, told CGTN, adding that he also felt uncomfortable with the five-year restriction on Liang's teaching qualification.

"For people like Liang, his return will just be a timebomb for the whole society," said Yang.

The case came under the spotlight in April 2020 after more than 10 men accused Liang of improper behavior, with many explicit details shocking the public.

Liang's offenses, such as forcibly touching his male students' private parts and sexual intercourse on some occasions, spanned over 10 years before he was arrested.

Yang estimates more than 20 people suffered offenses of varying degrees by Liang, but only seven of them were recognized as victims, as men were not protected in such sexual abuse cases until recent years.

The victims hope their bitter experience can be a warning for the whole society.

"Educational authorities should work out an effective monitoring and management system that ensures students a safe studying environment," said Yang.

Lin Xing (pseudonym), who suffered multiple offenses by Liang from 2010 to 2011, stressed the importance of sex education.

"Sex education is so inadequate, especially in vast rural areas. I hope both schools and parents can pay more attention to this issue," said Lin.

Lin also hopes their fight against justice can be an inspiration for victims in similar cases, who would make their voice heard and take legal weapons to safeguard their interests.

"We'd like to lend our helping hand to those in need," he said.

The young men's efforts have won much applause from the public, and they still have a long-term goal.

"I hope that men can also be protected under the rape crime as our legal system improves," Yang said.

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