School supervisor embroiled in sex-for-grades scandal in Vietnam

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Shots captured from the screen of a cellphone with messages reportedly sent from T.T.B., a contracted supervisor of Tan Binh District's Center for Continuing Education in Ho Chi Minh City to a schoolgirl asking for sexual favors in exchange for better grades

A supervisor at a Ho Chi Minh City public school has been accused of harassing teenage female students with text messages and phone calls suggesting they have sex with him in exchange for higher marks.

A group of the female 10th-12th grade students at the Center for Continuing Education in Tan Binh District recently lodged their complaints anonymously with Thanh Nien.

One of them told the newspaper that she had received messages and calls from supervisor T.T.B. on several occasions in which he offered to boost her grades if she had sex him in a motel.

"Although I have refused [his propositions] several times, Mr. B. still called and texted me and suggested that I have sex with him for grades, which worried me," the student said.

Another student, T., said when she refused B.'s offers, he threatened her that if she did not comply, she would have to repeat an entire school year.

Subsequent interviews conducted by Thanh Nien found that it was also commonplace for the school's male students to pay B. anywhere from VND200,000 to one million (US$9.6-48) a subject in exchange for better grades.

Speaking to Thanh Nien last week, Phan Minh Khoa, the center's director, confirmed that the supervisor had been involved in the money-and-sex-for-grades scandal following complaints by students who had presented evidence for their claims.

Khoa admitted to having received at least one similar complaint about B. via text message last December, but did not take any action against the supervisor because the anonymous allegation lacked sufficient evidence.

Khoa said he would warn the school's teachers not to give better marks to any students based on their intimate relationships with B.

"I guarantee that students will not be harassed any more, and the results will be fair," Khoa promised.

B. confessed to Thanh Nien that the students' allegations were true, except that he had not "initiated" such offers.

"I admit to texting and calling [the students], but only with those who contacted me on their own."

He also admitted to demanding money from those students who sought his help.

He said a female student, who told him she did not have money, had suggested sex as an alternate payment method and made an appointment with him for that purpose. However, he said, at the motel the student asked him to let her home and that he had granted her request. 

 T.T.B. encircled in red

He also claimed that many of the school's teachers were "strict" and would not collude with him to lift students' grades, while other teachers had agreed to "consider" giving the students higher marks, but had not promised to do so.

According to director Khoa, B. is married with three kids and has worked for the school for more than five years.

At a meeting at the center last Thursday, it was agreed that B.'s contract would be terminated at the end of April.

HCMC police are investigating the case.

According to Vietnam's Penal Code, anyone who coerces another person into having sex may face between six months to five years in jail. When the victims are aged from 16-17, convicted culprits face a minimum of two years and may receive up to seven.

In serious cases, including those who coerce several victims, the penalty extends to three to ten years.

Anyone who coerces a child aged 13-15 into having sex faces five to 10 years in prison.

In cases in which several children aged 13-15 are coerced, the punishment will be extended to 12-20 years or even to life.

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