MASERU — A former school principal is suing a parent and other school committee members who allegedly made a false report to the police that he had raped one of his students.
Libete Lehloa, 53, was the principal at Phohla Primary School in Mokhotlong in 2006 when he was accused of raping one of his pupils at the school.
He said the girl’s father had tried to discourage them from proceeding with the unfounded allegations but the committee overruled him by writing a letter to the police and education authorities alleging that he had sexually abused the girl.
He said Tefo Letsoepa who was the committee chairman at that time was the ringleader of the committee members that made the false allegations against him.
Lehloa alleged that Letsoepa was strongly supported by his brother Lehlohonolo Letsoepa who was a member of the committee.
He said the letter had defamed his character because the allegation in the letter was false.
He is demanding M50 000 as compensation from the committee and Lenanya for making the allegations that he said caused “irreparable damage” to his reputation.
“The letter (containing the allegations) was read and heard by the pupil’s parents, teachers and the pupils who were there,” Lehloa said during the hearing at the High Court in Maseru on Thursday.
“The letter was sent to my employers, management committee, the education officer in Mokhotlong and the police in Mokhotlong.
“It was false because I had never abused school girls sexually.”
Lehloa said he had called the girl to his class for counselling because she had performed badly in her mid-year tests.
Lehloa who is now a teacher at Lekopa Community Primary School in Butha-Buthe said the allegation had damaged his esteem because he was a respected member of the community.
He said after the allegation the community, its leaders, the police and priest in the village no longer held him in high regard.
“They thought that I was a terrible sinner, corrupt and a person who appreciates bad things and do them proudly holding his head high,” he said.
“The police found out that the allegations labelled against me were baseless.”
He said after the allegation the priest, education officer and the police had “abused me by asking me a lot of questions trying to establish what had happened”.
Lehloa told the court that after the accusation he became a laughing stock and people referred to him as the principal “who sexually abuses school girls”.
Lehloa said he had taught many people who are in positions of power such as lecturers and in government but they now shunned him because of the allegation.
He said even the man who was working as the interpreter during the hearing had been his student.
The civil case is before Justice Maseforo Mahase.
The applicant is represented by Advocate Shale Shale while the respondents are represented by Advocate Thabang Khau. The case will resume tomorrow.