A FORMER primary school headmaster and a government employee who were found guilty of raping six schoolgirls were sentenced to prison terms by a court in south China's Hainan Province yesterday.

Chen Zaipeng, former headmaster of Wanning City No. 2 Primary School, was jailed for 13 years and six months, and Feng Xiaosong, a former employee at the city's housing administrative bureau, to 11 years and six months, China Central Television reported.

The girls, all sixth-grade students aged between 11 and 14, disappeared from the school on May 8.

Their parents and teachers had no clues as to their whereabouts until 11pm the following day when one of them turned up at a relative's home in Haikou, the provincial capital, and another three were found in a rented house in the city.

Two other girls were located on May 10 in a resort hotel, thanks to clues from the four classmates.

Police later found that Chen had taken four girls to a hotel while Feng had taken two to another hotel.

The girls appeared to be drowsy when they were found and had bruises on their necks and hands. It was suspected the children had been drugged and sexually abused.

Parents said the girls were medically examined on May 10 and doctors told them the teenagers' hymens had been ruptured.

However, local government officials announced on May 13 that the girls "didn't have sexual relations with the suspects."

Police asked medical staff to reexamine the girls after their parents challenged the official report, but the results of that investigation haven't been disclosed.

Chen and Feng were detained on May 13 and their arrest was approved on May 15, when they were also kicked out of the Party and removed from their posts.

The Hainan Province No. 1 Intermediate People's Court accepted the case on June 9.

The trial wasn't open to the public out of concern for the girls' privacy but their parents were in court.

After the verdict was announced, Feng said he would be lodging an appeal.

Chen said after the verdict that he would be considering whether to appeal the ruling, Xinhua news agency said.


SOURCE: shanghaidaily
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