… For aggravated assault and criminal facilitation
Soltiamon School System Proprietor Solomon Joah Sr. and his son, Solomon Joah Jr., Dean of Student Affairs, were both sent to the Monrovia Center Prison on July 2, 2019, having been charged with aggravated assault and criminal facilitation.
Judge Kennedy Peabody of the Monrovia City Court ordered the incarceration of Joah Jr. and his father at the Monrovia Central Prison for severely flogging a 16-year-old female 10th grade student of the institution, who Joah Jr. claimed was seen roaming the school’s corridor without access pass.
The two were ordered jailed because they failed to file bond, even though the crime of aggravated assault is a bailable offense. Until the duo can filed their bonds, they are likely to remain in jail.
The student said she took advantage of her free class period to go downstairs to a friend to borrow sanitary pad after she noticed that hers, which she needed to change, had finished.
She said on her way back to class, she met Joah Jr., who asked her why she was out of class and she explained, but he insisted he wanted to see the sanitary pad to establish whether she was saying the truth, which she did.
The student alleged that Joah Jr. after the first 65 lashes, he said she disrespected him by not crying so he ordered that they hold her again for another 65 lashes, an allegation which the Joah although denied.
Joah Jr. however expressed regrets over his action, but clarified that 130 lashes are an exaggeration of the facts.
Solomon Joah, Sr. described the affected student as a ‘rude student,’ who he said always violated the rules of the school.
He said his son was just trying to discipline a rude student who, instead of showing the approved document (access pass) of the institution, lied in the process, saying she came out for her sanitary pad.
While Solomon Joah, Sr. stood behind his son, Mmonbeydo N. Joah-Harrell a Women’s Rights Advocate and a sister to Joah Jr., took a different position. “As a person with a firm conviction and belief in human rights, I made it clear that I would support the quest for justice for the victim in this matter. I have not wavered on that point,” she said in a Facebook post.
“I wish to clarify that while Soltiamon Christian School System is owned and operated by my family, I am an independent person with my own views and culpability for my own actions. I asked not to be tagged and questioned for the actions of another person who in this case, despite being my brother, is a full-grown adult and who has long since crossed the age of reason.”
She said violence is violence regardless of the perpetrator and this situation is about rights and not relationships. “Hence, I condemn all forms of violence meted out against women and girls, including this one,” Mrs. Joah-Harrell said.
Authorities at the Ministry of Education recommended that Solomon Joah, Jr., Dean of Student Affairs at Soltiamon School System be barred from working at the school as well as from the teaching in Liberia. The ministry additionally fined the institution L$350,000 payable into government revenue with the official revenue receipt submitted to the office of the Deputy Minister for Administration on or before July 5, 2019.
The ministry said the behavior of Joah Jr. was inhumane and a disrespect to the series of awareness of the regulations as reiterated in the Ministry’s 2018/2019 academic calendar, banning “corporal punishment such as beating, caning or any form of punishment that will cause physical and moral injury to a student, which the administrator in question did not adhere.”
The Ministry also ordered that cost of medical treatment incurred by the parents of the victim be re-funded by the SCS’ Administration with receipt of the refund is submitted to the office of the Deputy Minister for Administration as evidence that the refund has been made and the institution further submit its student handbook and teachers and administration handbook for approval by the Ministry.