Between 1st of February to 30th of September 2019, then suspect, Howlader Ripol, allegedly continuously harassed two female (names withheld) employees while working for Somi Enterprise located within the Papuan Compound.
According to a statement obtained from the 19-year-old victim, she was harassed whilst performing her duties on numerous occasions.
Most times, police were told the suspect watches porn videos on his cellphone and tells the victim to watch with him but the female employee refuses when realising that the movies contain sexual contents.
On one occasion, the suspect sent the girl to the back of the shop to collect some items when he was right behind her and allegedly grabbed the victim’s buttocks and was trying to remove her clothes.
“But the victim wrestled with the suspect and managed to escape out from the shop and reported the incident to his family,” reported Lae police.
“Ripol kept on preying on the girl continuously when she turns up for work every morning.
“One day, he grabbed the girl and tackled her onto the floor in the shop, stripped her clothes and began touching her body. Later, Ripol offered her cash to stop her from telling anyone about the incident and also threatened to terminate the women from work if they tell anyone about the sexual harassments.”
The staff kept the ordeal to themselves until in September 2019, the suspect told the 19-year-old to do his laundry at the back of the shop, when he allegedly approached the narrow door of the laundry room naked and ordered her to remove her clothes and they could have sex.
“The girl refused and rushed out of the door and quit the job afterwards,” police stated.
A few weeks ago, the woman was asked to go back to work and she accepted the offer.
On the 10th of January 2020, she was having a shower at the work place when the suspect climbed up the toilet bowl in the next restroom and allegedly spied on her.
“Two days later, on the 12th of January 2020, Ripol showed his private part to the girl with her colleague and she could not bear the continuous sexual harassment at the workplace so the matter was reported to the Police Criminal Investigation Division.
“The victim was interrogated and the suspect was formally arrested and charged for sexual assault under section 349 (1) of the PNG Criminal Code Act on the 14th of January 2020.
“On the 15th of January 2020, the suspect appeared briefly before the Committal Court and was remanded at Buimo CS awaiting the Defense Council to file bail application.
“His passport has been confiscated and is with police.”
Lae police added: “This is a message to the general public who have been in such situations to come forward and report the matter so such people will be dealt with accordingly.”