Turkish court sentences teacher to 82.5 years in prison for sexual abuse after massive efforts by ambitious teacher
AA photoA court in the Aegean province of İzmir sentenced a retired elementary school teacher to 82.5 years in prison on July 13 for making six female students between the ages of six and 11 “watch porn” and “sexually abusing” them three years ago while on duty.
The sentence came after massive efforts undertaken by teacher Saadet Özkan, who worked in the same school as the suspect, Adil Şahintürk, and carried the issue to the Prime Ministry.
“Consciences have been eased with this decision taken today… The rate of sexual abuse in schools is 73 percent. My request from teachers is that they should not be afraid to reveal such crimes. My children have suffered a lot,” Özkan told journalists following the ruling.
Şahintürk, married with two children, was arrested in 2014 in İzmir’s Menderes district based on the six girls’ testimonies, taken in the presence of a psychologist. Şahintürk denied the claims at the time, but he was still arrested.
In a hearing conducted on Oct. 15, 2015, the Izmir 8th Heavy Penal Court released Şahintürk after taking into account the time he served in prison.
As the case was about to close, Özkan brought the issue forward to the Prime Ministry Coordination Center’s (BİMER) attention. In a hearing conducted on June 26, 2016, the court decided Şahintürk should be arrested.
The prosecutor, Özlem Eğridere, demanded that the suspect be sentenced to 170 years for “consecutively sexually abusing” the four girls and “making [them] watch obscene broadcast,” and 65 years for “sexually abusing” the two other girls, amounting to a total of 235 years.
In a hearing conducted on July 13, Şahintürk denied the allegations, saying, “As an honorable person, I cannot serve a punishment even for 20 minutes, let alone 235 years.”
The chief judge, Süleyman Mutlu, ruled that Şahintürk be sentenced to three years over “obscene broadcast” charges and to 79.5 years for “sexual abuse.” The judge’s ruling was received positively by those in the courtroom.
Meanwhile, Özkan established a foundation in a bid to fight against child sexual abuse in the southern province of Mersin with the help of businessman Yücel Ceylan.
In a meeting held on July 11 to introduce the “Struggle Foundation for National Children Alliance and Children Abuse” (UCİM) to the public, Özkan said their main target was to teach children “self-defense and to denounce starting from nursery class.” Another aim of the foundation will be to establish rehabilitation centers for children affected by sexual abuse, Özkan noted.